Tip: Finding Errors in Your Data with Problem Alerts

Problem Alerts

Have you ever noticed a little triangle symbol next to a person’s name in RootsMagic and wondered what it meant?  It means there just might be a problem with some of the information you have entered for that person.  That little symbol is called a “Problem Alert”, and will show up if RootsMagic thinks there is an issue you might need to look into.


To see what RootsMagic wants you to check out, just click on the little symbol and the problem list will open for that person.  There may be just a single problem, or there may be multiple problems.  Some problems are limited to just that person, like dying before they were born.  Other problems might require looking at more than one person to figure out, like being born before their parents.


In addition to displaying a list of potential problems, the problem list also gives you a number of things you can do with the highlighted problem.  Edit Person will open the edit screen for the person, which is great for those individual problem types.  Edit Family will open a screen listing all of the family members for those problems which may lie with either the person or a family member.  And sometimes a potential problem isn’t a problem at all (maybe great aunt Martha really did live to be 106).  The Not a Problem button tells RootsMagic that the highlighted item isn’t really a problem and should be removed from the list.  And what if you don’t have time right now to figure out what the problem is?  You can click Add to To-Do List to put that potential problem in the person’s to-do list so you can work on it later.

If for some reason you don’t want problem alerts to appear, or if you want to choose what types of problems RootsMagic should look for, do “Tools > File Options” from the main menu, then check whether to use the alerts or click the “Problem options” button.


When you click “Problem options”, the following screen will let you choose which problems RootsMagic will look for.  In addition to selecting the types of problems, you can also adjust the range of values RootsMagic uses for various problem checks.


If you want to see Problem Alerts in action, here is a short video we put together for you.

So don’t wait around to see if there are any problems in your data… let RootsMagic find them for you automatically!

Announcing MacBridge: Run RootsMagic on Your Mac without Windows

MacBridge for RootsMagic

One of the most common questions we are asked is, “When will RootsMagic run on a Mac?” With today’s release of MacBridge for RootsMagic 6, the answer is “right now”. MacBridge for RootsMagic 6 allows you easily install and run RootsMagic on your Mac in mere minutes with almost no additional setup or configuration.

MacBridge for RootsMagic is different than other solutions you may be familiar with. For starters, it does not install Windows on your Mac. It also does not create a slow and bulky virtual computer. It runs right on your Mac, using your Mac file system. You can even put the RootsMagic icon on your dock for easy one-click access! So while we are busily working on an actual native Mac version of RootsMagic, MacBridge for RootsMagic 6 gives you the ability to work on a Mac today.

MacBridge Screen

Want to see it for yourself? Here’s a short video demonstrating how quick and easy it is to download and install RootsMagic onto your Mac:

Still have questions? Take a look at our answers to some Frequently-Asked Questions about MacBridge for RootsMagic.

Currently, MacBridge for RootsMagic 6 is available only as a download. The regular price is $14.95 but for a limited time, you can get it for only $9.95. So if you or someone you know uses a Mac and has felt left out of the RootsMagic magic, do yourself (or them) a favor and check out MacBridge for RootsMagic today!

Tip: Keep Your File in Shape with Database Tools

Database Tools

Occasionally things break.  And when they do, we break out the tools to fix them.  Sometimes we even use tools preemptively to keep things from breaking later.  Databases are no different, and RootsMagic provides database tools to check the integrity of your database, or even fix issues like “phantom children” in your database.  To open the Database Tools, select File > Database tools from the menu.


The Database Tools screen is very simple, with 4 commands to choose from.


Each of the 4 commands simply performs the command and then pops up a status message (which may be no more than a simple “OK”).

Test Database Integrity

This command analyzes your RootsMagic file to check if there are any problems with the database structure itself.  These are not problems with data (like a person being born before their father), but are corruption within the data structure itself.  This type of corruption is rare, but it is important to check for it occasionally.

When this command finishes running it will either just display “OK” (which is what you want), or it may display a list of any corruption in the file.  Sometimes this corruption can be fixed by running one of the other database tools (like Rebuild Indexes), but sometimes the only recourse is to restore a backup.

You can run this command when you open your database to make sure there is no corruption before you start entering new information, or you can run it before creating a backup to make sure your database is good to go before backing it up.

Rebuild Indexes

Your RootsMagic file contains two things… data and indexes.  The data is what you actually type in (names, dates, places, notes, etc), while the indexes are what the RootsMagic database engine creates so that it can search for and find that data faster.  This command rebuilds those indexes.  Like any of the database tools, you can run this command anytime without worry, but it can be most useful if the Test Integrity check comes up with index errors.

Clean Phantom Records

This is probably the most useful of the database tools, or at least the one that you can see its effects.  Occasionally your database can pick up what we call “phantom records”.  These are unwanted pieces of information (sometimes blank) that appear in your database, but you are unable to remove them using the normal RootsMagic features.

For example, you may find a family with a “phantom child”… a blank row in the child list on the family view which you can’t unlink or delete using the regular Edit > Unlink or Edit > Delete commands.

This command will search your file for all kinds of phantom records and will remove them for you.  Again, it doesn’t hurt to run this feature even if you haven’t run across any phantom records yet.

Compact Database

When you delete a person or other item in RootsMagic, the program simply marks the record as deleted, but doesn’t free up the space the record was using.  Normally this isn’t a real problem, but if you are deleting a lot of records in RootsMagic, this command will reclaim that space and reduce the size of your RootsMagic file.

Database Tools in Action

Here is a short video we created showing the database tools in action.

Previous Articles

Tip: Keep Private Notes Private

Tip: Finding Anything Anywhere in RootsMagic

Tip: Finding a Person by Nickname or Married Name

Tip: Make a Map of Your Family’s Migrations

Tip: Saving Your Spot in RootsMagic Using Bookmarks

Tip: Find Exactly What You Want with a Few Keystrokes

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