Jump to content

History Hunter's Content

There have been 49 items by History Hunter (Search limited from 14-April 20)

By content type

See this member's

Sort by                Order  

#98862 Rootsmagic Mac version 8

Posted by History Hunter on 08 January 2021 - 01:22 PM in RootsMagic for Mac

A bit of a comment of the change-over from a virtual machine based Mac product to a cross-compiler based one...


What concerns me about calling RootsMagic 8 on the Mac "native" is that I understand from others that it doesn't actually make maximum use the Mac system libraries as one might expect a "native" program to do. That would likely be due to the use of a cross-compiler to support both Windows and Mac from the same code. Having had more than a bit of experience in software engineering and writing compilers, I can say that the performance and "look and feel" usually suffer to some extent over a program written specifically for the target system, and debugging is almost always a real issue. I suspect the latter is where most of the "teething" issues will lie as the product matures.


That's not to say that a small company can economically maintain two development streams. But; what seems to have been done is get rid of using the virtual machine to do system calls and doing those within "host" libraries that form part of the compiler output. The net result of such an approach would likely be that some "Mac-specific" features won't be present or will work slightly differently.


If this situation is in fact true, the Mac community really hasn't gained much by the change except for the an improved front-end paradigm. Time will tell...

#98561 Rootsmagic Mac version 8

Posted by History Hunter on 26 November 2020 - 12:39 PM in RootsMagic for Mac

Has anyone delved into the formats that RM7 writes to disk?

If one uses MSWord for post-processing, and ONLY MSWord, the RTF option puts out something quasi-useful. The other format options don't have the same features and really aren't that useful for transferring the report for post-processing. That said, the footnotes and bookmarks seem to be mislinked in the RTF version, so that the first link is non-functional and the rest are offset by one. eg.the superscript 2 links to footnote there etc.


I sure hope RootsMagic spends time making sure the internal links in the exported RM8 reports actually work and... NOT JUST IN MSWord!


I am really not pleased at needing to have a monthly subscription to MSWord just to polish something something like a narrative report. The subscription quickly adds up to more than the cost of RootsMagic itself.


OpenOffice, LibreOffice, NeOffice and even Scrivener are very good at importing and editing RTF formatted files, but it seems that it's not possible to do much with the reports from RM7. Repairing all the links in the exported RTF reports is far too big a task.

#98498 Post-processing of RTF reports

Posted by History Hunter on 16 November 2020 - 01:37 PM in Discussion

I've confirmed with RM Tech support that the bug has been reported. As usual, they have no information on whether the logged bug will be fixed. I asked nothing about RM8, as the bug could have been planned to be fixed in an RM7 maintenance release. But, of course, I received the stock answre that they had no information. This paranoia about the possibility of saying something that might indicate what RM8 might do has gotten to the point of severely impacting the ability to offer standard tech support. I sure hope they either release RM8 soon or just kill it. I paid for the upgrade a few years ago and would rather kiss the money goodbye than put up with the way it's driving the ability to get answers on the current product.

#98495 Post-processing of RTF reports

Posted by History Hunter on 16 November 2020 - 11:53 AM in Discussion


Thanks. I didn't know about that. Every link to an endnote that I just tested came up one less. Strange bug.


You can still buy Microsoft Office without subscribing. The current version is Office 2019 and a new version is due out next year.


I can get NeoOffice (Mac) for FAR less than MSOffice. I also think that this may be more than making the export particular to MSOffice. I'm looking at the byte-level contents of the file. I suspect things are incorrectly tagged.

#98494 Post-processing of RTF reports

Posted by History Hunter on 16 November 2020 - 11:51 AM in Discussion

Have you tried the free version of MS Word?  Available online with a free OneDrive account, I've not tested it myself but perhaps worth a try?


I have commented before that it would be nice to see ODT as an option for report output, could be use with Libra or Open Office, I gather even MS Word  supports it now.

The free version of MSWord will allow one to upload and open an RTF, but you can't save it as a different format and it doesn't seem to solve the issues with the footnotes/endnotes. I'm still checking things out with an byte-level editor to see what has happened.

Yes. ODT output would be nice, as would MultiMarkDown. Most savy computer users are aware that ODT tends to be widely used, as is MultiMarkDown. That said, I somehow doubt that this addition will happen. Given that I can actually open the file in NeoOffice (LibreOffice for the Mac), I'll be happy if I could be sure that what appear to be software bugs had been fixed.

#98489 Post-processing of RTF reports

Posted by History Hunter on 15 November 2020 - 11:33 PM in Discussion

You will find that the hyperlinked footnotes don’t work correctly. Some are non-functional and others send you to an endnote that is one less than they should. If one tries using footnotes, my experience has been worse. In a small document one can take the time to replace the links, but in a large document that isn’t practical. You should note that others on the board have reported similar issues and have been told to they have to use MSWord.

#98486 Post-processing of RTF reports

Posted by History Hunter on 15 November 2020 - 05:40 PM in Discussion

I've tried post-processing the RTF reports containing endnotes from RootsMagic v7.

The way RTF has been used in RM7 reports, it appears that ONLY Microsoft Word can be used to import and edit the report files.

Using any other widely-accepted RTF-capable editor or converter does not appear to work.


Hopefully, the reasoning is not that the RTF format belongs to Microsoft and so one has to use their product.

That would indicate a very poor design decision in the development of RM7.

I do hope that RM8 will fix this, because MSWord is no longer something one can purchase outright.

Having to now pay a subscription fee to Microsoft in just to have the option of cleaning up the reports is far too expensive.

If anyone has found a way to convert the files so that they can be read/edited, other than by MSWord, please post a response.

#98477 Source Specific reference numbers

Posted by History Hunter on 14 November 2020 - 02:31 PM in Discussion


I've been working on how to use MarkDown in my workflow. 
It works VERY well and allows me to store tables inside RM7, have them embedded in the RM7 reports, then use Scrivener to adjust and print the final report complete with tables.

Thanks for the nudge to try it.

#98454 Source Specific reference numbers

Posted by History Hunter on 12 November 2020 - 09:08 AM in Discussion


I don't have a modified version of a free form template. Instead, I have multiple user defined templates - one for birth records, one for death records, one for marriage records, one for census records, etc. I developed these templates at the same time as I became an extreme source splitter. Prior to that I had used RM's built-in free form template.


In order to become an extreme source splitter, I needed something different than RM's built-in templates, free form or otherwise. I could have simply copied some of RM's built-in templates and I could have changed all the Source Details fields in the copied templates to become Master Source fields. But RM's templates just seemed too hard to use. One of the biggest problems was simply that there are too many of them. For example, which of the many book templates to you use for a book and which of the many census templates do you use for a census record? And then I would get into filling out the data for a particular template and I couldn't figure out what the template wanted me to enter. So by defining my own templates I could have one template of each type and I understood what I was supposed to fill in to each field.


I used Evidence Explained as my reference in developing my templates, but I doubt that I'm 100% EE compliant. Maybe I'm 95% EE compliant, I don't know for sure. But EE itself is far too complicated. It's over 1200 pages long, for goodness sake. And EE is too "abstract". Maybe abstract is not the right word, but there is just something that is too complicated about it and I'm a simple country boy. But for example, there is nothing in EE about how to do obituaries. Rather, EE tells you how do do newspaper articles, and you can treat an obituary as a newspaper article. But not all obituaries are published in newspapers. And more important to me, I think it's the obituariness of obituaries that is important, not the newspaper artticleness of obituaries that is important, even if they were all published in newspapers (which they are not). So I think EE needs to tell you how to do obituaries in their own right.




Thanks for your help. I think there are some points you've made that will help me use RM7 better.


I tend to think you are correct about the complexity of the EE-Style citations, but I find that straight CMOS-style errs on the opposite end of the spectrum and doesn't capture quite enough. For me; the real issue with EE-style is that, in practice, ones citation structure/content is controlled to a large extent by the way a website is structured. The book doesn't do a stellar job of dealing with that aspect.I've had to read through the posts on the EE website to figure it out for myself. However; I've managed to "perfect" the citation formats I use regularly and have set up (externally stored) skeleton citations for them that are easily editable. I cut them into the free-form or do a copy-paste-edit of an existing free-form citation. I was using event-based templates, like you appear to be doing, but eventually switched to ones tailored for the websites I used frequently.


I guess the inability of RM to release v8 in a timely manner has made me a little skeptical about how long they will be around and started me thinking. It won't be long before they lose any competitive edge they have. So; maybe I should hedge my bets and store the key info outside of RM7.

As I've been considering how to best protect myself against the potential disappearance of RM, I've realized a few things. About the only thing that RM7 does consistently well enough that I don't do it outside the program (to some extent) is store/manage the event data and also render it in graphical/semi-graphical formats such as trees and timelines. Just to temper this a bit. RM7 is really no worse than many other programs and in some ways it is a bit better.

#98451 Source Specific reference numbers

Posted by History Hunter on 12 November 2020 - 08:15 AM in Discussion



For transcribing and general layout of text for GEDCOM transfer I use a markdown language that can be written into web display programs.


see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Markdown



As RM7 doesn't understand markdown, could you tell me a bit more about your workflow so I can see what you do with it?

#98449 Source Specific reference numbers

Posted by History Hunter on 11 November 2020 - 11:04 PM in Discussion

Thank you for the suggestion. Yes, I had the same thought, since I use markdown to create tables for use in Scrivener. I use a free editor called MacDown. It solves a lot of issues with trying to shoehorn transcriptions into programs that are picky about formatting or character sets. I’m going to have to see how RM7 deals with it.

#98445 Source Specific reference numbers

Posted by History Hunter on 11 November 2020 - 09:45 AM in Discussion

I use source notes exactly as you describe. My only comment is that I do all all transcription outside of RM. Usually, I just use Notepad, and sometimes I use Microsoft Word. I then copy and paste my transcription into RM. I just find it too hard to work with RM's modal windows and tiny fonts while I'm transcribing. I realize RM8 will be much less modal than RM7, but I doubt I will move my transcription process into RM8. I will surely continue to transcribe outside of RM and then copy and paste into RM8.


For the most part I don't use RM's Source Comments field. I probably should, but I just didn't get into the habit in the first place and it's hard to go back and create all such comments after the fact. I commend you for getting that part of your process right from the beginning.





I do all all "transcription" outside of RM as well and for the same reasons as you noted. Unfortunately; there is also the sticky issue that most database programs don't allow one to store and exchange (e.g. via GEDCOM) notes that contain much in the way of formatting. I somehow doubt that RM8 can/will fix this. So, basically, classical transcribing can't be done and stored in most database programs. The best we can really do is some form of extraction. This raises the question of what do you do to record the contents of things like certificates, which are typically the tough ones? Maybe I could get some pointers on this?

#98444 Source Specific reference numbers

Posted by History Hunter on 11 November 2020 - 09:36 AM in Discussion

I don't use RM's Refence Number fields. I probably should, except that I find that I'm really linking to images of my documents rather than to paper copies of my documents. So what is important to me is the link to the file path for the images and that is taken care of. This is surely a major defect in my process, but one that it's much too late to correct.



Yes. I found I had a defect in my process in that I was struggling to find good (but short) names for each image in my file system. This also is very important when attaching images, since the current RM7 on a Mac seems to be limited to a total path + filename of 256 characters. This doesn't allow for much of a meaningful directory structure unless the filenames are unusually short. The repositories from which I have downloaded images don't have this issue, because they file by a concise alphanumeric "accession number" and cross-reference to a longer meaningful name in their database. I recognized that I could do the same in RM7 by using the reference field to hold the filename and the Master Source name to hold a longer meaningful name. Thankfully, the reference number does work ... at least in the Source citation panel, so I was able to use it as described. The one in the detail citation panel is still under development per RM7 support.

When I deal with paper copies and the associated scans, I assign my own code and then use the same process as for downloaded images.

#98443 Source Specific reference numbers

Posted by History Hunter on 11 November 2020 - 09:20 AM in Discussion

You mention extreme source splitting but also mention entering data in RM's Source Details. With one exception, I'm a little puzzled about using Source Details with extreme source splitting. As an extreme source splitter, I put absolutely nothing in RM's Source Details.


The one exception that's a fly in the ointment is that Citation Quality of necessity has to be in the Source Details. That's because a document such as a death certificate is often a higher quality source for the Death Fact than it is for the Birth Fact or a person's name. So you can need a different Citation Quality for each citation of the same death certificate. So as an extreme source splitter, I don't use RM's Citation Quality feature. I know I should. But I find RM's support for Citation Quality to be very weak - you can't search on it, it's hard to see, it's hard to print, it's hard to manage, etc. And beyond that, I just can't get my head around the Genealogical Proof Standard upon which RM's Citation Quality feature is based. It just seems all out of whack - square pegs in round holes or something like that. I'm sure I could never learn to pass a Certified Genealogist exam because I couldn't agree with the "correct" way to do Citation Quality.



I'm responding to your posts in pieces as I digest a certain comment.

"Source Details with extreme source splitting" – In extreme splitting, you are correct. There really is no "detail". They are essentially one and the same. However; RM7 generates the Research Report from the contents of the detail citation panels. To make use of this feature, I was thinking of using the detail citation panels to hold information that is not literally part of the source, but are items that I learned from it. That approach seemed to keep intact the concept of documenting the source vs. documenting my research.

"Citation Quality for each citation" – Oddly; the Source List Report does report the Quality related to the source. But as you note, the quality metric is really something that should be associated with the research aspect, governed by a research question that the source addresses in some way. In short, it belongs in the Research Report. RM7 tech support has noted that this is on their bug-fix log. Maybe it will be fixed in RM8, if and when it gets released.

#98442 Source Specific reference numbers

Posted by History Hunter on 10 November 2020 - 11:08 PM in Discussion

Thanks, Jerry.

It seems that you and I were thinking along the same lines. I can really use the process you’ve documented. I’m going to walk my way through it and make sure I understand each point before going too far.

Like you, I also decided to try to write my citations so I could cut and paste a piece to use as a master source name. I even do all my extractions and transcriptions outside RM and past them into the Source Notes.

I can say with some certainty that the templates don’t quite put out EE citations in many cases. That’s not surprising given the variations that can occur. I would really like to hear about your modified version of a free-form template. I was thinking about that, but wasn’t quite sure if it was something that would work until you noted you were doing it.

#98434 Source Specific reference numbers

Posted by History Hunter on 10 November 2020 - 11:04 AM in Discussion



Here are a few notes that I made for myself. Please let me know if there's something there that will cause me insurmountable issues down the road. Note that I use a very "archival" approach to records management and full-up Evidence Explained citations, so I'm pretty-much forced to use Free-Form citations.


RM7 Workflow Notes:


If one is an “extreme splitter” and treats every item as being a unique source entry that is documented using a free-form citation, then I believe RM7 can be used as follows.

(This approach should allow one to enter sources, their citations and their extraction/transcription as an isolated step having its own Source List report as a check, and do the examination and analysis as a completely separate step having  its own Research report. Of course; it will work much better when the RM team fixes the noted “bugs”.)


When entering Source Notes and Source Comments:

  1. Use source Ref. Number to contain the original file name of the source image and file the image using that name. If the Master Source name is descriptive, then the Source List report will act as an index linking the file name to a meaningful description. It avoids complicated file-naming schemes and does things more like an archivist would.
  2. Use the Source Notes to capture the extraction/transcription. This has the benefit making it possible to get all the raw (unanalyzed) info about a source by printing out just the Source List report.
  3. Use the Source Comments to capture key observations about the condition or background of the source. This also appears in the Source List Report and essentially makes it something like an archival “Finding Aid”.
  4. Note that the RM7 support team has confirmed that the Source Quality assessment being reported in the Source List report, instead of the Research report, has been logged as a “bug”. In addition; the improper bolding of the citation details and notes, plus them not being set off as paragraphs, has been reported as a “bug”.


When entering Detail Notes and Detail Comments:

  1. Note that the RM7 support team has confirmed that the Ref. Number is currently “under development”. It does not appear in any report at present, except for the Source List report. It can also be located using the “Search Everywhere” feature. Those results, can be saved, so that may be useful, too.
  2. Use the Research Notes to report just the item(s) that one has found in the source and may have a bearing on a Research Question or your purpose in consulting the source. Do not attempt to an extraction/transcription or an analysis of the source.
  3. Use the Research Comments to capture just the analytical comments relating to the Research Question  or your purpose in consulting the source. e.g. highlight gaps and inconsistencies in what you’ve found WITHIN THIS PARTICULAR CITED PORTION. Analysis of issues relating to two or more cited portions belong in some form of separate analytical report. One may wish state the Citation Quality metrics in this section, since RM& does not yet include them in the Research report.
  4. The Ref. Number in the Research Notes seems not to be used to any extent, but can be included when printing the Source Report. This seems to violate the concept of keeping the source list and research reports separate, so it may not be wise to use it.

#98430 Source Specific reference numbers

Posted by History Hunter on 09 November 2020 - 03:47 PM in Discussion

Thanks, Jerry.

I found out what was happening. RM7 does not insert a CR/LF before the detail research notes and detail comments in the source report. Plus it doesn't bold the section titles as it does elsewhere. So; I was looking at the text and not seeing them.

#98428 Source Specific reference numbers

Posted by History Hunter on 09 November 2020 - 12:26 PM in Discussion



Which reports show the source reference number and/or the detail reference number?
(I found the source reference number in a source list report, but have never seen a report showing the detail reference number.)

#98383 Does using free-format citations really improve GEDCOM exchange

Posted by History Hunter on 01 November 2020 - 07:57 AM in Discussion



Really appreciate your providing the info on the purpose and content of the GEDCOM tags. It shows that the commonly available programs likely cannot convey the information that is contained in their programs using the tags in the way they were designed to be used. In addition their use of the ability to define new tags has aggravated the issue of "miscommunication". So; it seems that no amount of kludging the input in the programs will really help make ones information more transportable.

What is really needed is an up-to-date GEDCOM format with more current content capability, but coded as an API so that the data exchange interface is defined and invariant. That way, developers could not claim to have GEDCOM capability unless it actually could exchange information with another program without loss or corruption. I think this is what the new GEDCOM v7 has in mind. Unfortunately; I have no idea when it will be released. The real question will then become one of how much of a battle they will face from developers who are very happy with a loosely defined GEDCOM, which allows them to prevent users from migrating to a competitor.

I'm seriously considering keeping as much data outside the programs as possible and only entering the bare minimum needed to create the Pedigree Charts and Family Group Sheets, which I'll save externally. That way, when the inevitable happens, I can re-enter my data from a storage format that facilitates that process. Besides; I can put together a much more "readable" narrative report using Scrivener or a word processor than I can with the automated capability of most programs. I don't do full write-ups often, but I do them to actually be read. So; having the graphical portion (Pedigree Charts and Family Group Sheets ) done by the program would make it fairly simple to turn out a polished report.

#98378 Does using free-format citations really improve GEDCOM exchange

Posted by History Hunter on 31 October 2020 - 04:10 PM in Discussion

Does using free-format citations really improve GEDCOM exchange?

Having looked at a test RM7 GEDCOM, it seems that there's very little that could be entered in such a way as to improve porting of information between apps using GEDCOM. Even using the Free-Form template just assigns the whole 1st reference note into a TITL tag followed by multiple CONC fields. This still doesn't actually reflect things properly when ported. The 2nd and subsequent notes also don't seem to be ported properly,

Can one do better? If so, how?

#97492 Adoption

Posted by History Hunter on 08 June 2020 - 10:44 AM in Discussion

The issue I have with RM7 is that it "appears" to allow tagging certain persons as adopted, but doesn't actually do anything based on that entered data. This tends to mislead people into thinking that RM7 actually handles adoptees.

#97491 Rootsmagic Mac version 8

Posted by History Hunter on 08 June 2020 - 08:37 AM in RootsMagic for Mac

I'll give the <esc> key a try next time. Thank you.

The issue seems to be that modal windows were not used correctly. The design concept of a modal window was for interactions that must be completed before doing anything else. That means they need to be, and are in good practice, coded such the they are always on top and cannot be hidden. The RM7 program seems to have missed this.


You'll notice that good Mac programs tend to use very few modal windows and then generally only for critical interactions.

#97486 Rootsmagic Mac version 8

Posted by History Hunter on 07 June 2020 - 06:08 PM in RootsMagic for Mac



I'm finding that the windows management of RM7/Crossover makes trying to handle things in a Mac way to be very frustrating and sometimes results in hanging the program.

#97485 Rootsmagic Mac version 8

Posted by History Hunter on 07 June 2020 - 06:03 PM in RootsMagic for Mac

Hi Jerry;


Thanks for the reply.


I've managed to find a way to organize my customized source templates to make the master portion invariant for a given type of "collection". That gives me, at least, some re-usablity. I normally take an existing citation from the same collection, memorize and paste it, then edit it. So I'm "sort-of" doing a similar thing to your approach. Still, there are times that I want to pluck certain phases from a somewhat different citation. This usually happens when I'm citing artefacts in a personal collection. Those tend to be a bit more variable, even within the "collection".

#97484 Adoption

Posted by History Hunter on 07 June 2020 - 05:52 PM in Discussion

This issue of fields that do nothing has been a source of frustration for me. Under the Adoption fact, the "Parents" field also seems to do nothing. These extraneous fields are misleading and give one the impression that RM7 does something that it does not.

I still haven't found a good way of dealing with legal name changes, whatever the reason. Sure would be nice if RM8 fixed this.