The Road to RootsMagic 8: An Important Update

My mom often accused me of not being able to learn from my mistakes. Years ago, I got burned by giving a date for a feature we were adding, and I promised myself I would never do that again. Then a couple of years later, we pre-announced a deadline for finishing work on our Ancestry integration, with mostly the same result. So, of course, I still haven’t learned my lesson, and once again tried to guess a release date in advance, this time for RootsMagic 8.

RootsMagic 8 is the biggest upgrade in our software’s history. I usually just say something like “it will be done when it is ready” and leave it at that, but we began telling folks that we hoped to have it out by the end of this year (2019). It seemed like a safe estimate, but like those other times this has bitten me, I underestimated the effects of outside influences on our development.

I underestimated the number of times we would have to stop work to fix breaking changes made to APIs that version 7 uses. I underestimated the number of times we would have to rewrite libraries we are using in RootsMagic 8. To be honest, I never thought we would have to actually rewrite commercial libraries from scratch because of their deficiencies, but we have actually had to do that multiple times. I also underestimated the amount of time tracking down bugs in other company’s libraries to help them fix issues that negatively affected performance in version 8.

So, where are we now? RootsMagic 8 won’t be released by the end of the year. And if you ask me for a new release date, I’m not going to say. But here’s what I am going to do…

Several months ago, we started doing blog articles with screenshots. But writing them pulled us off of actual software development, and were less than satisfying to you as a user. We want to do a better job of keeping you up to date on where we are, so I have recorded a 30-minute video below to show you precisely what RootsMagic 8 looks and feels like. As development continues, we’ll try to release more videos (although probably not this long) to keep you in the loop.

We know many of you can’t wait to get your hands on RootsMagic 8, and we are excited to be working on it. We just want to make sure that when we release it, you can depend on it working right.

And if you’re adventurous, we are still looking for more beta testers of all backgrounds to help us make version 8 the best it can be.

I want to thank you personally for your patience and understanding. Hopefully, you can see from the video the extent of the improvements and work that we’re putting into this release. We’re really excited by the feedback that we’ve received so far and we hope that you’ll find it worth the wait.

An Open Letter on RootsMagic’s Sync with Ancestry

Years ago (back in the Family Origins days) I got burned giving a date for a feature we were adding, and I promised myself I would never do that again.  But users dislike uncertainty and like to press us for an estimated release date.  Usually, I just say something like “it will be done when it is ready” and leave it at that.  When Ancestry and RootsMagic announced our agreement to create a version of RootsMagic which would be able to sync with Ancestry trees and display WebHints from Ancestry, we were bombarded with the question of “when?”  We usually don’t pre-announce upcoming features, but with this being a joint public announcement, the questions just kept coming.

So, apparently not having learned my lesson, we picked the end of the year as a safe guess, even though we had no idea what the brand new API (the system that lets RootsMagic and Ancestry talk with each other) would be like, what problems we might encounter along the way, or what other non-related issues might temporarily take us away.  We’ve worked with API’s before, and have gotten pretty dang good at it.  We’ve even written code to sync with online trees (FamilySearch), so we’re experienced there as well.  And up until very recently, it still looked like we could meet that deadline.

But to be honest, I underestimated the amount of time necessary to finish and properly test this awesome new feature.

  • I did take into account that we needed to wait for the new API, and we were able to use that time to work on some underlying code needed for syncing and hints.
  • I didn’t take into account that is was a brand new API, one that no other company had ever worked with before.  It’s easy to work with an existing API… there’s tons of documentation, and other programmers write about the pitfalls they encountered working with it.  With a new API, there is limited documentation, and you get to spend a lot of time doing trial and error to find out what the API expects.
  • I didn’t take into account that the API might be missing functions which we needed.  When this happened, Ancestry has been great about providing those missing functions, but it still takes time.
  • I didn’t take into account how often programmers would need to be pulled-off to put out fires in other areas of the program or with other APIs.
  • I didn’t take into account the fact that we would tear out and rewrite large amounts of code several times when we found a faster or better way to do something.

So the bad news is that the Ancestry sync features won’t be released by the end of the year. But the good news is that it is close, it looks amazing, and we aren’t talking about a huge 6-month delay or anything like that.  We know many of you are excited to share your data between RootsMagic and your Ancestry tree, and we are excited to be working to offer it.  We just want to make sure that when we release these new features, you can depend on them working right, and keeping your data safe.

So where are we now?  We have early testers working with it and still have some more code to write .  Since even a small bug in sync code can cause tremendous damage to a data file or online tree, we want to make sure it is stable before turning more testers loose on it.  Once we’re confident it is stable, we will turn it over to even more testers.

If you are interested in being one of those beta testers, please fill out this application.

And for everyone wanting to know the new exact release date… it will be done when it is ready.  I’ve learned my lesson (again).

RootsMagic and Ancestry: Working Together at Last

Search, Sync & Download from Ancestry

Recently, the genealogy world was rocked with the news that Ancestry would be parting with their “Family Tree Maker” (FTM) genealogy software. Thousands of FTM users have since made the switch to RootsMagic. But the question everyone has been asking has been, “Will any other software be able to search and synchronize with Ancestry the same way that Family Tree Maker did?”

Today, we finally have an answer to that question- “Yes!” We’re pleased to announce that we will be working with Ancestry to bring these features to RootsMagic in the near future.

What does this mean for you?

Search, Sync, Import
  1. Search – RootsMagic will be the only software besides FTM to search Ancestry’s extensive collections of historical records from around the world and let you download those records into your own file.
  2. Sync – RootsMagic will be the only software besides FTM to let you share data between your RootsMagic files on your computer with your personal Ancestry online trees. You’ll also be able to download people, events, and even pictures from Ancestry onto your computer through RootsMagic.
  3. Import – RootsMagic will be able to directly import your Family Tree Maker files, without having to go through an intermediate GEDCOM file, giving you the cleanest, most complete transfer of your data. RootsMagic will also be able to download your online trees from Ancestry.

Yes, this is big news and we’re sure you have many questions about it.


Does this mean that Ancestry bought RootsMagic?

No. RootsMagic is still the same independent software maker that we’ve always been. We’ve simply arranged to work with our friends at Ancestry to make this happen; just as we work with FamilySearch, MyHeritage, and other genealogy companies.

Why are RootsMagic and Ancestry working together?

This really is a win-win for both companies and their users. RootsMagic users will have convenient access to Ancestry’s vast collections of trees and records, as well as synchronizing with private online trees. Former Family Tree Maker users will have a path forward, importing their original FTM files while using the Ancestry hints and trees that they’ve come to depend on.

Will I have to buy a new version of RootsMagic to use these features?

If you are using the paid version of RootsMagic 7, these features will be included in a free update to that version.  If you are using a version of RootsMagic older than 7, you will need to purchase an upgrade to 7 to use the features.

When will these features be available?

As is to be expected with something this big, it will not happen overnight. Both Ancestry and RootsMagic are dedicating considerable time and resources to make this happen. We anticipate having many of these features available later this year in an update to our RootsMagic 7 software.

Are you the only other genealogy software working with Ancestry?

Besides Family Tree Maker, yes.

What if I don’t want to upload my data to Ancestry?

Like all of our integrations with other companies, these features are completely optional. You’re free to use or ignore them as you like.

Will I need an Ancestry subscription to use these features?

Use of Ancestry features will require an Ancestry account, even if only as a free Registered Guest. The features and records available to you will depend on your subscription level.

Will I still be able to use RootsMagic to work with FamilySearch, MyHeritage, and other companies?

Of course. This will not affect any existing functionality in the RootsMagic software including sharing data with FamilySearch Family Tree and WebHints. In fact, these relationships give RootsMagic users the ability to access more records from more sources than any other software.

I’m a Family Tree Maker user. Do I have to buy RootsMagic now?

We certainly wouldn’t mind if you did 🙂 But seriously, Ancestry has stated that current versions of Family Tree Maker will work with their services through 2016. So you don’t have to make the switch immediately.

We invite you to look at RootsMagic and its features and, if you like what you see, you’re welcome to make the transition whenever you feel ready. You may be willing to wait until the new Ancestry features are available or you may wish to get started right away. Whenever that time comes, please visit for a special discount and instructions to help you make the change.

Will the sync work exactly like TreeSync in FTM?

Ancestry is working on a new API that both RootsMagic and FTM will be switching to (“API” is a fancy word for the system with which Ancestry can communicate with other products).

The API is still in development, buy syncing in both RootsMagic and FTM will likely be a bit different than the current “TreeSync”.  It will still allow you to share names, events, notes, sources, and even media between RootsMagic and Ancestry.

Please visit for more information.

New RootsMagic 7 Software Released

SPRINGVILLE, Utah. — November 25, 2014 — RootsMagic, Inc. today announced the official release of RootsMagic 7, the latest version of the award-winning genealogy software which makes researching, organizing, and sharing your family history easy and enjoyable.  With this release comes an update to the popular “RootsMagic Essentials” free genealogy software.

Family History Made Easy

Family Tree Magazine said RootsMagic is “probably the best all-around genealogy program” and “offers a winning combination of features for both casual and serious genealogists.”

Throughout its 13-year history, RootsMagic has helped people research and share their family trees with innovative features such as moving people from one file to another with your mouse, a SourceWizard to help you document your work, creating a Shareable CD to give to family and friends, and running RootsMagic off of a USB flash drive when you are away from home.  RootsMagic has also received numerous awards, including the award for “Easiest to Sync” from FamilySearch for their work in interfacing with that system.

New Features

RootsMagic 7 adds many new features while making existing features even easier to use.  “This release includes something for everybody,” said Bruce Buzbee, president.  “Whether you want help finding records, or an easier way to share your family history with family, RootsMagic 7 has something new for you.”  New features include:


The industry’s only multi-platform record hints, providing automatic hinting from both FamilySearch and MyHeritage.  Simply click the WebHint bulb next to a person’s name:


View the hint summary for both FamilySearch and MyHeritage…


Then click through to see the actual records.



Our all new accounts which let you easily publish and maintain multiple online trees.  From a single screen you can easily publish, view, change settings, refresh, or delete multiple trees.


Your trees can be public or private (password protected), and since your new online tree is database driven, you can change settings (like privacy settings, home page title and description, etc) for your website without having to re-upload your database again.



Quickly find and fix possible problems with names and places.  You choose which problem types to look for, and RootsMagic will display a list of all names or places with any of those problems.  You can accept RootsMagic’s suggestions, or just part of them, or hand customize the place right from DataClean.


File Compare

Compare any two RootsMagic databases for a side by side comparison.  Easily transfer people, names, events, notes, sources, or media between the two files.


Plus dozens of other enhancements and features

Free “RootsMagic Essentials”

RootsMagic 7 is also available in an updated, free edition named, “RootsMagic 7 Essentials”.  RootsMagic Essentials contains many core features from the RootsMagic software and the two products are fully-compatible with one another.  “Many people are curious about their family history and don’t know where to begin,” said Michael Booth, vice president.  “RootsMagic Essentials is the perfect way for someone to get started, risk-free.”  RootsMagic Essentials is available for download at

Available Now

RootsMagic 7 is now available online at or by calling 1-800-766-8762.  New users may purchase RootsMagic 7 for only $29.95.  Users of previous versions of RootsMagic and it’s predecessor, Family Origins may purchase RootsMagic 7 for the upgrade price of only $19.95.

About RootsMagic, Inc.

For over 20 years, RootsMagic, Inc. has been creating computer software with a special purpose- to unite families. One of our earliest products- the popular “Family Origins” software, introduced thousands of people to the joy and excitement of family history.

That tradition continues today with “RootsMagic”, our award-winning genealogy software which makes researching, organizing, and sharing your family history fun and easy. “Personal Historian” will help you easily write and preserve your life stories. “Family Reunion Organizer” takes the headaches out of planning those important get-togethers. And “Family Atlas” creates beautiful and educational geographic maps of your family history.

For more information, visit
Source: RootsMagic, Inc.

RootsMagic Wins Two 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards

The awards keep coming in.  Just 3 months after winning its 4th straight GeneAward for Best Genealogy Product of the YearRootsMagic has won not one, but two 2013 About Genealogy Readers’ Choice Awards!


After a month of nominations and voting by the community, RootsMagic received awards for: Genealogy is the highest-ranked single contributor genealogy site on the internet.  Kimberly Powell, the curator, does a terrific job keeping it up-to-date with the latest news and tips as well as detailed and valuable lessons and how-to articles.  If you aren’t already familiar with this resource, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

We’d like to thank all of you who made your voices heard through your votes.  We work hard to bring you the best genealogy features and software available and it’s gratifying to see that many of you approve of the job we’re doing.  Of course, we’re not just sitting around.  We have even more surprises in store to make researching, recording, and sharing your family history even easier!

RootsMagic 4 Update Released (

This minor update adds a couple of small requested features and fixes a number of issues.  If you have the RootsMagic News screen come up when you start RootsMagic, it may have already notified you of this update.  If not, you can do “Help > Check for Updates” from the RootsMagic menu to download and install this update.  Note: I have updated the list below with the changes for version,,,,, and

You can also download the update from

Here are the new, fixed, and updated items in this update:

  • Notes for alternate names now print for group sheet and individual summary
  • Record # button didn’t work on Select People screen until you highlighted someone in the list
  • Sentence templates for user defined roles are supported in GEDCOM now
  • Alternate names are handled in the various Fact Lists (Private facts, Facts w/o sources, etc)
  • Privacy works properly for alternate name facts in individual summary now
  • WebSearch works properly for names with accented characters now
  • [xUpline] was showing up in websites for privatized people with no events
  • Fixed SQLite error 21 when printing todo list for single repository sorted by repository
  • Added option to support New FamilySearch on Macs running CrossOver (Tools > File options > FamilySearch)
  • Adding a new fact on the edit screen and pressing Alt+V would sometimes show incorrect data in the list
  • Can search / select on FamilySearch ID in selection screen now
  • Custom reports support printing and sorting by FamilySearch ID
  • Unicode characters in names and places transfer properly from RM to NFS
  • Fixed a few list issues
  • Shared events are now retained during merge
  • Kinship list would sometimes display incorrect relationships (
  • Henry, D’Aboville, and Outline numbering in narrative reports handles children from multiple spouses correctly (
  • Fixed a problem with the place list sometimes crashing from the edit screen on a few systems (
  • Fixed a problem with the family list (Search > Family List) crashing on a few systems (
  • Fixed link to FAQs (Knowledge base) under the Internet menu (
  • Legacy import converts formatting codes in source detail text and comments now (
  • PAF import preserves source detail date now (
  • Added Internet > Learning center to take you online for tutorials / webinars (
  • Sort by birthday and anniversary in custom reports works correctly now (
  • Fixed some sentence template issues (
  • People View now supports FamilySearch ID as a column (
  • Removed debug window from NFS User Profile settings (
  • NFS Share Data screen sometimes showed incorrect matches between children (
  • Fixed some issues with the New FamilySearch import (
  • Fixed some issues with New FamilySearch Share Data screen (
  • Fixed freezing during NFS operations on some computers (
  • Information would sometimes not print in the Individual Summary (
  • GEDCOM would sometimes mix up address fields when only partial addresses existed (
  • Explorer now displays place details for events (
  • Source template values in GEDCOM can now span multiple lines (CONT/CONC) (
  • NFS filter sometimes showed incorrect group name (
  • Minor NFS tweak (
  • Minor NFS tweak (
  • Source report (and some others) would sometimes print a repository twice (
  • GEDCOM export could crash when encountering a corrupt date field in the database (
  • Handle the incorrect FTM 2008-2011 GEDCOM CONC tag handling (
  • Some ordinances for people w/o death facts wouldn’t print in LDS report (
  • Fixed address issues during GEDCOM import (
  • ToDo list would sometimes print an incorrect repository for items with no repository (

New Year’s Resolutions for 2010


Welcome to 2010!  Now that 2009 is in the past, and in the spirit of the new year, we’d like to present our resolutions for 2010.  While losing 20 pounds would be great for us personally, as a company our goals are a little different.

RootsMagic Updates

RootsMagic 4 Insider

When we spent over three years in rewriting RootsMagic 4, we did so with an eye on the future and emerging technologies.  Just as we broke new ground with our Shareable CD’s in version 3 and RootsMagic To-Go in version 4, we’re working on new and unique features to make researching and sharing your family history even easier.  In 2010, watch for regular updates to your software with improvements, fixes, and new features.

One much-requested feature that we’ve already been working on is making RootsMagic available in other languages.  Since RootsMagic 4 is a unicode application (computer jargon for supporting all international character sets), it is able to be translated into any language including Russian, Japanese, and Chinese in addition to western-alphabet languages such as Spanish, German, and Portuguese.  If you’re interested in seeing RootsMagic translated into your native tongue or would like to help with the actual translations, please contact us.

Personal Historian 2

Personal Historian

It’s been a long-time coming but we’re excited to be finishing up the next version of Personal Historian, our software which helps you write and organize personal histories and biographies.  Much of the development work that went into RootsMagic 4 is being transplanted into Personal Historian, giving it improved writing and publishing capabilities, better media management, and an even easier-to-use interface.  Look for previews and announcements in this blog in the coming months.

More Website Improvements

Just as the rewrite of RootsMagic set the stage for many new and exciting features in our software, the redesign of our website in 2009 has set the stage for new methods of interacting with our users via the internet.  Watch for more tutorials and support options coming to our website later this year.

More Awards

Just when we thought we had wrapped up our 2009 Year in Review and the awards we’ve received, one more sneaks in at the last minute.  This one came from the GenSoftReviews website, where people can rate and review their favorite genealogy software products.  We are honored to receive the “Best Liked Genealogy Software 2009” award.  RootsMagic finished 2009 with the highest rating of all genealogy software programs with an average of 4.95 out of 5 stars!


Thank You!

Of course, these resolutions are not a comprehensive list of our plans and goals for 2010.  There are many other projects which are in development in our secret underground laboratories which we’ll talk about when the time is right.  In the meantime, thank you again for your support.  We try very hard to listen to your problems, questions, and suggestions.  If there is something that you’d like to see us do, please contact us and let us know.  Happy New Year and may you have lots of success in 2010 (both genealogically and otherwise)!

Year in Review


Well, 2009 has been a busy year for us.  It’s gone by very quickly and we thought it would be fun to review all that has happened in the last 12 months.  If you’re not one to dwell on the past, check back tomorrow as we present our 2010 New Years’ Resolutions with a peek at our plans for the coming year.  But until then, “Sherman, set the Wayback Machine to 2009!”

RootsMagic 4

RootsMagic 4 Insider

The biggest event by far this year was the release of RootsMagic 4.  Over three years in the making, RootsMagic 4 was a complete rewrite from it’s predecessor, introduced many new and exciting features, and paved the way for incredible new features in the future.   After working insanely long hours for months on end, it was apparent that we weren’t going to make our original goal of releasing version 4 in late 2008.  After a community preview in January with 2,000 of our own users testing it, we did something we had never done before and invited the public to preview RootsMagic 4 before it was released.  With the terrific feedback and suggestions we received, we were able to officially release RootsMagic 4 on March 25, 2009.  Our users were thrilled with the new features, we were thrilled to get some sleep again, and our families were thrilled to have us back.


We feel very fortunate that in these days of economic uncertainty, not only have we been able to stay in business, but we’ve been able to grow as a company.  To keep up with this growth, we’ve hired additional sales and support staff.  We recognize that this growth is only possible because of your support and eagerness to tell your friends and family members about us.  Thank you!

We Get Around

In 2009, we traveled more miles, taught more classes, and attended more conferences than we ever have before.  In fact, there was one weekend where we were present at four different events in four different states at the same time!  Thank you to all the societies, user groups, family history centers, and companies that organized these events.  And thank you to all of you who came to see us!  By far, the most rewarding aspect of these events is the chance to meet our users face-to-face, answer your questions, and receive your suggestions.

Website Facelift


After almost 7 years with the same basic design and layout, our website was starting to show its age.  We’ve been meaning to update it for several years now, but something has always gotten in the way (cough.. Version 4…cough).  We finally bit the bullet and did it and on November 18, our new website was launched.  It’s not perfect but it’s much better organized and, from what you’ve told us, easier to find what you’re looking for.

RootsMagic Essentials

RootsMagic Essentials

2009 brought another first for us.  Many of you have told us about friends or family members that would like to dip their toes in the world of genealogy but weren’t ready for software as comprehensive as RootsMagic.  In answer to these requests, on November 18, we released our first completely free genealogy software, “RootsMagic Essentials“.  RootsMagic Essentials contains many core features found in its namesake but at a much friendlier price- free.  Since then, thousands of people have downloaded RootsMagic Essentials and have started tracing their family tree.


We’ve been honored with several awards this year including:


2009 FamilySearch Software Awards
Best Dashboard and Easiest to Sync

ThinkGenealogy Innovator Award

ThinkGenealogy Innovator Award
July 2009

GeneAward 2009

GeneAwards 2009
Best Genealogy Product of 2009
Most Improved Product of 2009

Thank You!

We know this sounds clichéd, but none of this would have been possible without you and your support.  2009 has been a big year for us and, rest assured, we’re working hard to make 2010 even better!

RootsMagic Has a New Website!


We’ve been wanting (needing?) to update our website for over 4 years, but have never been able to turn the corner on it.

Well, we finally did it.  Mike Booth (VP of Technology for RootsMagic) has put in some serious hours completely redesigning our website to make it easier to find information about RootsMagic, Personal Historian, Family Atlas and our other products.

We will be adding additional content and functionality to the website in the future, so have a visit and let us know what you think.

RootsMagic Invites Public to Preview Family Tree Software

RootsMagic Invites Public to Preview Family Tree Software
Free Preview of Leading Genealogy Software Now Available to the Public
SPRINGVILLE, Utah. — March 4, 2009 — RootsMagic, Inc. today announced RootsMagic 4 public beta, the latest version of the award-winning genealogy software which makes researching, organizing, and sharing your family history easy and enjoyable. During the public beta period, all are invited to download and experience the software, free of charge.
Impressive New Features
“RootsMagic 4 is the biggest release in our 20-year history of making genealogy software,” said Bruce Buzbee, president.  “We’ve updated RootsMagic to work with the latest genealogical technologies available today, while staying true to our mission to make family history easy, accessible, and fun.”
RootsMagic 4 boasts an impressive list of new features including integrated web search, improved SourceWizard for citing sources, sharing events among multiple persons, creating pre-defined groups of persons, person and place mapping, recording DNA tests, and improved navigation and data entry. RootsMagic 4 is also one of the only desktop genealogy programs certified to work with “New FamilySearch”.
Freeing Your Data
“A common request that we hear from people is that they don’t want their data to be trapped in their computer,” said Michael Booth, vice-president of development. “One of the most popular features in RootsMagic 3 is our ‘Shareable CD’ which puts your data and pictures onto a CD or DVD along with a special copy of RootsMagic. You can then give the discs to family and friends and they don’t have to buy or install anything. It’s all there on the disc.”
 “We’ve taken that a step further in RootsMagic 4,” explains Booth. “One unique and exciting new feature is ‘RootsMagic To-Go’. It allows you to install RootsMagic onto a USB drive and transfer data between it and your computer. This gives you the freedom to take RootsMagic and your data wherever you go- to work, on vacation, to the library- anywhere.”
Free and Available Now
RootsMagic 4 beta is available now for free at “We’re so excited about this new release, we wanted to give everyone a risk-free option to try it for themselves,” said Buzbee.  Each person who wishes to participate will be given a registration key which will allow them to download and experience the software for the duration of the public beta period.
Users of other genealogy software products will find it easy to experiment with RootsMagic 4 using their own data. RootsMagic can directly import data from PAF, Family Tree Maker (through 2006), Family Origins, and Legacy Family Tree. It can also read and write data using the popular GEDCOM format.
The public beta also gives users the chance to give feedback and suggestions to improve the software. “Customer feedback is essential to us. All of the changes and improvements in RootsMagic 4 are in direct response to needs and desires expressed by our users,” said Booth. Buzbee added, “We’ve already received invaluable comments and suggestions from the early testers and we’re looking forward to hearing from the general public.”
About RootsMagic, Inc.
For over 20 years, RootsMagic, Inc. has been creating computer software with a special purpose- to unite families. One of our earliest products- the popular “Family Origins” software, introduced thousands of people to the joy and excitement of family history.
That tradition continues today with “RootsMagic”, our award-winning genealogy software which makes researching, organizing, and sharing your family history fun and easy. “Personal Historian” will help you easily write and preserve your life stories. “Family Reunion Organizer” takes the headaches out of planning those important get-togethers. And “Family Atlas” creates beautiful and educational geographic maps of your family history.
For more information, visit .

Source: RootsMagic, Inc.