RootsMagic 4 Update Released (

We have just released a new update to RootsMagic 4 (version  This update includes a new feature which should prove to be very popular… the ability to automatically fix broken media/image links that occur when you move pictures or move your database and media to a new computer.

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.

You can also download the update from

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


– Added a feature to fix broken media / image links (in the media gallery/album do Tools > Fix broken media links)
– Added the ability to enter Helper mode for another person when using the NFS features
– Added life span (birthyear-deathyear) to parents and children’s spouses in group sheets


– Deleting a fact will now remove the shared copies of that fact instead of leaving phantom witness records (Note: we are still working on a way to delete any pre-existing phanton witness records)
– Edit source screen displays Call# in right panel if one exists
– Shouldn’t sometimes change family in family and descendant view when adding a child
– Double clicking a citation when the citation manager is opened from Explorer now opens Edit Source screen
– Box charts now include prefix and suffix on names
– FTM import now preserves nicknames entered with quotes like William “Bill” Jones

RootsMagic 4 Update Released (

We have just released a new update to RootsMagic 4 (version  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.

You can also download the update from

This is primarily a bug fix update and includes a couple which required some major internal code changes.  If you have reported a bug that isn’t addressed by this update, don’t worry… all reported bugs have been logged and are being worked on.

On a somewhat unrelated note… we have had a lot of questions about if and when the RM4 book will be available.  The “if” is yes, and the “when” is I’m not sure.  Because of the large number of changes / additions in version 4, the book is taking me longer to put together than with past versions (especially with the amount of time I’m spending programming at the moment).   I just wanted to assure you I am working on it with all that spare time I have laying around<g>.  But the plan is to get it out in the next couple of months.  We are also working on some free video tutorials which you will be able to watch online from our website or download to your computer.  Keep an eye on the blog and our RootsMagic Newsletter for more information about those in the coming months.

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


– Added an option to select the default starting side-list page (or use previous side-list page) in Tools > File options
– The Scrapbook report now has an editable title
– The NFS Match screen and Sync screen have been combined into a single tabbed screen
– Renamed “Tools > Database options” to “Tools > File options”


– Primary facts now works properly in reports, screens, etc.
– Fixed ‘List index out of bounds (-1)’ error when creating a Fact List
– Fact type “exists” now works properly in search criteria
– Name doesn’t disappear from edit screen list after the name is edited
– Fixed “Allow close matches” in NameFind in RM Explorer
– Fixed “Sounds like” search for name fields in RM Explorer
– LDS template will now save ordinance statuses if no date or temple was entered
– Deleting the birth or death for a person removes the year from the Explorer list
– Citation memorize / paste now includes any images attached to the citation
– :Age modifier works in sample sentence and customize sentence in edit screen now
– Alternate name date is now exported to GEDCOM
– Alternate name privacy setting is now exported to GEDCOM
– Fixed a few issues with some source templates
– RM remembers size of Edit Media window
– When importing an older RM (v1-3) file, RM4 defaults new filename to same name (except with .rmgc extension)
– Fixed some issues when importing some older Family Origins files
– Merging preserves the notes of the person being merged in
– Fixed the random freezing in various New FamilySearch screens
– Fixed error 400 problem when combining records in NFS

RootsMagic 4 Update Released (

We have just released a new update to RootsMagic 4 (version  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.

The update may also be downloaded from

We have worked many, many hours on this update, but realize there are still a number of items we need to address.  We have even had to fix bugs in other company’s products that we are using in RM4.

We decided to go ahead and release this update to get these fixes out while we work on and test other issues.  If your pet bug isn’t addressed by this update, don’t worry… all reported bugs have been logged and are being looked into.  There are a few bugs (like the occasional random hanging in some of the FamilySearch features) that require more testing because of the possible impact of the changes on other areas of the program.

We want to thank everyone for their support through all this work.  Your encouraging words have helped make the long hours seem not quite so long.

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


  • Can view and edit place details for places from the master place list (Lists > Place list)
  • Added source templates for Elizabeth Shown Mills’ new Ancestry QuickSheet
  • Indexes in reports now support color coding
  • Added several color schemes (in addition to blue) for toolbar and menu colors (blue, silver, green, windows setting)
  • Several reports allow editing title
  • Added optional built-in background images for website creation
  • New ordinance reservation list when selecting “# people are ready for temple ordinances” from FamilySearch Central
  • Added option to exclude RM specific tags when exporting GEDCOM files


  • Added hotkeys to numerous screens
  • Creating a shareable CD doesn’t hang on collecting media
  • Shareable CDs don’t crash when opening the media album anymore
  • Stopped “Windows no disk” errors when accessing media on drives that don’t exist
  • Fixed some search criterias that didn’t work properly
  • List of citations for a person/fact/etc now shows page no. / details in the list
  • When citing an existing source RM4 starts with the cursor in the first source details field
  • Added phone and email to address form display
  • Website header font can now be modified in .CSS file
  • Added create and modified date to properties form
  • Place merge leaves original place in list (w/o checkbox)
  • Place details print in website narratives now
  • Name in place list report now includes prefix and suffix
  • Added hints to toolbar buttons that didn’t have them
  • Reader splash screen doesn’t say “Trial Version” anymore
  • Family events in narratives use customized sentences if they exist
  • Narrative websites use customized sentences if they exist
  • Customize sentence displays “They” instead of He/She for family events
  • Eliminated extraneous witnesses in shared events in narratives
  • Fixed some shared event issues
  • Sample sentence supports witnesses on edit individual screen
  • Sample sentence supports witnesses on customize sentence screen
  • GEDCOM import doesn’t ignore death info if the DEAT tag has a Y on it
  • Changed “General” to “Person” on edit screen for notes, sources, etc.
  • Spaces are trimmed from name parts when saving name in Edit Person screen
  • Fixed issues with a few source templates
  • UK edition defaults to using british dictionary now
  • NFS matching / searching filters out dups returned by NFS (led to “Must have 2 people to do a combine” errors)
  • RM doesn’t crash anymore when importing a corrupt file from other programs (SQLite Error 19)
  • BEPS prints on pedigree charts when LDS support turned on
  • Fixed read of “Needs more information” status from NFS
  • Bibliography prints properly in the Source Report
  • Photo tree doesn’t display wrong photos when an ancestor doesn’t exist
  • Gazetteer opens with focus on search field
  • Sources in narratives handle template field modifiers (like [place:reverse]) properly now
  • Website image links are lower case to handle servers that lowercase files and are case sensitive
  • FTM import doesn’t crash when invalid source citation is encountered
  • FTM import doesn’t mix up some fact types anymore
  • FTM import doesn’t put every description in the place list anymore
  • FTM general sources import properly now
  • Short citation includes detail text and comments if enabled
  • Note, source, and media checkmarks display for alt names in Explorer
  • Adding a birth (or other life event) over 105 years ago clears living flag for the person
  • Deleting address from Lists > Address removes the link to it from the person (same for repo)
  • Deleting place from Lists > Place list clears place (and site) for events which used that place
  • Seal to spouse prints for parents in group sheets now
  • LDS report marriage sealings filter properly now
  • If preference file gets corrupt RM will use defaults instead of freezing
  • Merging places preserves all place notes
  • Merging places preserves place details
  • Chart program doesn’t sometimes revert to trial mode
  • Sped up merging a person dragged and dropped onto a copy of himself
  • Reuse duplicate citations now works properly (make sure “Combine endnotes for each fact” is turned off)
  • BIC and other LDS statuses print on group sheets if date is blank
  • Fixed random crashes in publisher when Table of Contents is added
  • Changed Twin Falls Idaho temple code from TFALL to TWINF
  • Legacy import now imports “unspecified” citation links
  • Selected date format is used in edit screen and sample sentence on edit screen
  • GEDCOM export strips hard returns out of exported single field lines
  • Display / printing of freeform sources adds punctuation the same way RM3 did
  • Doesn’t display the chapter title in the endnotes when there is only one chapter/report
  • Place list remembers size and position now
  • Fixed some age display issues on edit screen
  • Main views (pedigree, family, descendant, people) now support font style (bold/italic) set in options
  • Fixed some issues with privatized narrative websites
  • Sort date is created even when user presses Alt+V or Alt+O before moving out of the date field
  • Sort date is updated when you select a different date from the calendar in the edit screen
  • Bibliography can now print even when footnotes / endnotes are turned off

What Have We Been Doing the Past Month?

Well, it has been exactly a month (an extremely busy month) since we officially released RootsMagic 4, so I thought it might be a good idea to let you know what we are up to.

Fixin’ Bugs

Of course our number one priority right now is fixing bugs which have been reported.  Please keep in mind that RootsMagic 4 is a complete rewrite and we are working full time squashing bugs as they are reported.  We are fixing the most major bugs first and will continue until we get them all.  Don’t worry if your pet bug isn’t fixed in the next update, it doesn’t mean we aren’t going to fix it.  Those of you who have been with us for a long time know how hard we work to make things right, and RootsMagic 4 is no exception.  We plan to release the next update in the next week or two, so please keep an eye out for that.  And now that things are starting to settle down just a little bit, we will try harder to keep you up to date with what we are up to here on the blog.

Answering Questions

As you might imagine, we are getting a lot of emails (questions, bug reports, etc.).  We are trying to answer them as quickly as possible.  If you have submitted a bug report through our support system ( or on our message boards, please be assured that we have seen it and will be working on it even if you don’t hear back from the programmers right away on it.  Bug reports are always forwarded to us programmers, but we are spending so many hours working to improve RootsMagic 4 that we often get behind (sometimes way behind) on our emails.

The Most Common Questions Support is Receiving

  1. Why can’t RootsMagic 4 find my version 3 database? – If you are running Vista and had your RM3 files in the RootsMagic program folder, then Vista is hiding those files from RootsMagic 4.  Here is a knowledge base article on this problem and how to get around it.
  2. Why can’t I log into New FamilySearch? – New FamilySearch is a brand new system that is being rolled out in phases, and isn’t available to everyone yet (including many LDS church members).  As it becomes more stable it will be opened up to everyone (whether LDS or not).
  3. When will the RootsMagic 4 book be available? – If I had to guess I would say in about 3 months (I should know better than to guess at a release date, but I just can’t help myself 😉 ).
  4. Why haven’t I gotten my CD yet? – CDs began shipping this week.  We had that on the main order page, but forgot to update the generic confirmation email to say that.
  5. Numerous feature requests – We have received a ton of feature requests, many new, and a few for features which were in version 3 but are missing from version 4.  While our main focus right now is fixing bugs, we will also be working on some of these feature requests as time permits, and they will be included in the free updates as well.

 Of course there are many, many other questions that we are receiving, and many of them are answered in our knowledge base at

A Word of Thanks

And finally I would like to thank all our great users for their support.  This has been the busiest month in our company’s history, in sales, support requests, hours spent programming, everything.  We knew coming in that with a complete rewrite there would be some growing pains, but based on the reviews and comments RootsMagic 4 has been receiving we know that we are on the right track.

“Probably the best all-around genealogy program, RootsMagic offers a winning combination of features for both casual and serious genealogists.” – Family Tree Magazine, July 2009

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.


RootsMagic 4 – Status Report

I realized I hadn’t blogged in awhile, so I decided to give a quick status report on where we are with RootsMagic 4.  As I mentioned previously I won’t be trying to predict the future, but we are definitely getting closer.

Right now we’re having fun with our “community preview” which 2000 of our users signed up for.  This has been a great experience (for us anyways).  We were able to track down some performance issues we were unaware of when users started throwing databases with up to 2 million names at it.  We’ve gotten those addressed and are busy squishing bugs as we get ready for a public beta release, hopefully within the next 2 weeks.

The community preview has been very encouraging because of all the positive response and feedback we’ve received.  And the issues people have uncovered have been fixable (although some of those performance issues gave us some serious heartburn).

So keep an eye on the blog (or better yet tell your reader to keep an eye on it) for the announcement of the public beta.

RootsMagic 4 Unwrapped – “The Book”

One of our users (thanks Herb) wanted to share the information about RootsMagic 4 with his genealogy society, so he compiled all my “unwrapped” blog articles into an easy to follow PDF file.  It covers the sneak previews of RootsMagic 4 from beginning to end making it much easier to follow than tracking backwards through the blog.

If you want a copy of this PDF file to share with others, click here to download a copy.  It’s about a 6MB file (because of all the screenshots).  If the file just opens in your browser, you can just click the save option in the browser’s PDF viewer to save the file.  Or you can right click on the “click here” link above and choose the option to save the target and then save the file.

Oh, and if you were expecting this to be about “Getting the Most Out of RootsMagic” based on the title of this article… there *will* be an updated version of that book, although it probably will ship a month or two after the release of the actual program (there just aren’t enough hours in the day for me to do both the software and book simultaneously).

RootsMagic 4 Unwrapped – RootsMagic To Go

Well, we’ve reached the end of this long journey… the final sneak preview.  As we all know, I have mentioned several release dates which have come and gone.  I admit that I underestimated the amount of time needed for a release of this magnitude.  It’s easy to predict a release date if you are just modifying existing code… but writing everything from scratch to use the latest technologies is a different story.  So I’m not going to predict release dates anymore, but I will discuss some product release information at the end of this post.

And now for the final sneak preview…

One of the most common comments we’ve seen (after “When is this going to be released?”) has to do with the size and speed of the new version.  We’ve all seen (and probably bought) programs that claimed to be the next great thing, only to find that it was bloated and slow because it was based on a framework like .NET, or based on some huge database engine that had to be installed on the computer before the program could run.  (Note to .NET programmers… we know there is a place for .NET and large database engines… it just isn’t in genealogy software.)

Well, we don’t roll that way here at RootsMagic.  RM4 is a native Windows program (no .NET bloat), and uses an embedded database engine (no huge database engine required to be installed on your computer).

So what does this programming jargon mean to you?  It means we are able to add one extra feature that other bloated programs will never be able to copy… RootsMagic-To-Go.

RootsMagic To Go

That’s right.  Not only can you have your data on a flash drive, but you can run the full RootsMagic program and your data directly from the flash drive.

Are you going to a library that doesn’t have RootsMagic on their computers?  Don’t worry.  Just use RootsMagic-To-Go to install RM4 and your data on your flash drive, and take it with you.  When you get to the library just plug your flash drive into the computer and get to work.  When you get home just move the data right back onto your computer.

So what comes next?

Next week we will release a community preview to those RootsMagic users who have signed up.  This will let us get RM4 into the hands of thousands of RM users who can help us track down any of those issues that pop up in a completely rewritten program.

After the community preview we will release a public beta to anyone (RM user or not) who is interested in taking a look at RootsMagic 4 before the official release.

As soon as RootsMagic 4 is stable we will begin taking orders and release it as a download, followed a few weeks later by the CD version (it takes a few weeks to get CDs duplicated and packaged).  When we begin taking orders you will be able to pre-order the CD and get the download early if you want to do that as well.

So that’s the schedule.  Keep checking the blog as we announce these various steps towards the release of the most exciting product in our company’s history.

RootsMagic 4 Unwrapped – More on source templates

We got a couple of interesting questions the other day after I wrote about RootsMagic 4’s customizeable source templates.  The first two questions can be answered with this screen, which is the list of source templates available in RootsMagic 4.

Source Template List

1. Will we be able to take a pre-made template and add or take away fields to make a custom template?

YES.  There is a Copy button (2) which will make an exact copy of the highlighted source template.  You can then go into that new template and modify it to your liking.

2. You mentioned that someone could help create a template, does that mean we will be able to somehow send a template to another user?

YES.  There are Export and Import buttons (1).  The Export button will save the highlighted source template to a file which can be imported into another database using the Import button.

3. Will there be the ability to create a field for a web link, so we can link directly to an online source document from within our source citation?

Not initially in 4.0, but this is an item on our todo list.

4. Will there be the ability to link to a source document in a folder on our computer from the source citation?

YES.  This is actually already available in version 3 (and will still be available in v4).  Every source and/or citation has its own media album where you can add pictures, sound or video clips, or links to any other file on your computer.