Lesson 1


What is RootsMagic?

RootsMagic is a Windows® based computer program you can use to record, organize, print and share genealogical information. It allows you to create a computerized family tree (known as a database or a family records data file) beginning with yourself and continuing back through your parents, grandparents, and as many generations back as you are able to find. This is separate from any other program (FamilySearch Family Tree, PAF, etc.) and can only be accessed by you (unless you share your information).


Where does RootsMagic fit on the Five-Step Research Process?

As you type information into a RootsMagic file, you are identifying what you know about those people. This is Step 1 of the Five-Step Research Process. You are also identifying what you don’t know and deciding what you want to know. This is Step 2 of the Five-Step Research Process.

Downloading RootsMagic

Having RootsMagic on your personal computer will greatly enhance your ability to store and organize your family history research. When downloading RootsMagic, you will find that there is both a free version (RootsMagic Essentials) and a full version that costs about $30. To download the free version:

·     Go to www.rootsmagic.com

·     Products → RootsMagic Essentials

·     Click on “Free Download”

·     Enter your name and email address if you want to receive updates from RootsMagic, then click “download”

·     Click the link and hit “Save File”

·     Follow prompts


RootsMagic can be found on the computers in the Family History Lab in 1031C JFSB and also on the computers in the Family History Library in the HBLL.

For more information and free tutorials of RootsMagic and RootsMagic Essentials on the RootsMagic website: www.rootsmagic.com


Using RootsMagic

  • Open RootsMagic
    • Click to create a new file.
    • Give your file a name
    • Be sure to select LDS support and FamilySearch Family Tree support buttons


  • Add your Preparer Information
    • Go to the Tools Menu and click towards the bottom of the list where it says File Options
    • Click on the Preparer tab
    • Fill out the appropriate “prepared by:” information (this will appear whenever you print reports and is required for most classes)
  • Import your FamilySearch Family Tree file
  • Go to the File menu and go down to where it says FamilySearch Central
    • Click Import at the top of the screen
  • Select 4 ancestors and 0 descendants. The more generations you want to import the longer it will take, exponentially.
  • Click on a box where you would like to add the individual
    • A box will appear. You can begin entering in the desired individual’s information
    • Click OK
  • To add other information to that individual double click them and the edit screen will appear, click Add a fact.  
  • Open up the edit screen for either one of the individuals and select Add a Fact
  • Find the marriage fact type and select it
  • Adding Individuals
  • Adding a Marriage Event

Note: Just because a spouse is added, does not mean that the marriage event is automatically added. Be sure to do this step.

  • Adding other significant facts
    • Open the edit screen for the individual by double clicking them and select Add a Fact.
    • Find the desired fact type and select it
  • Sources
  • Select the fact for which you would like to add a source, click the Sources button
  • Select an appropriate source for your information
  • Type in the basic information that you would like for your source
  • If you decide to reuse this citation for another fact or individual, the yellow portion of the source template will stay the same (it’s part of the master source). The green part changes for each individual record, so you will have to fill it out each time
  • Before you close out of Citation Manager, push “Memorize” and “Paste” if you need to source the same record for the same person. This copies both the yellow and green sections.
  • Highlight the husband or wife of the family unit and select the Family view
  • To add Children: Click in the space labeled “+ Click to add child”
  • Edit a Family Unit/ Adding Children


RootsMagic: Match/Sync with FamilySearch Family Tree

·        Click on any FamilySearch icon (small square encasing a tree) to sync that person with Family Tree

o   When you click on the icon it will bring up the Match/Sync window

o   If a match is found you can either compare the person in more detail with the one in your file or you can match and sync the individual.

o   If a search for your RootsMagic person doesn’t turn up any matches you can add the information to Family Tree yourself. By clicking on the Add to FamilySearch button RootsMagic will add an individual’s data to Family Tree for you.

RootsMagic: Match/Merge

·        The match/merge feature should be used when there are duplicate entries in your file for the same individual.

·        Click on the Yellow Road sign icon at the top of the screen

o   This will open the match/merge feature for whatever person you currently have highlighted.


RootsMagic: Printing Reports

Printing Options/Reports

o   Click the Printer icon at the top of the screen or select Reports from the tabs at the top (followed by Print Reports.)

o   A conversation box will appear. Listed on the left-hand side of that box are all of the types of reports you may create.

o   Choose your report.

Note: Reports will always print out a place and name index - two wasted sheets of paper. To reduce on paper and money waste, click on Indexes, and select No Name Index and No Place Index on the Place Index tab


Saving Your Information

When you create a RootsMagic file it will automatically begin saving to your My Documents folder. If you want to save a copy of that file to a different location There are three ways to do so:

                      i.        Go up to the File menu and select Copy. This copy can only be opened with RootsMagic 6.

                     ii.        Go to the File menu and select Export. This option lets you export a GEDCOM file that will be compatible with other programs. To open a GEDCOM, you must first open RootsMagic and select Import. Then find and select the GEDCOM file.

                    iii.        Roots Magic also has a backup and restore feature that can be used by selecting File and then Backup. The file can then be opened by opening RootsMagic and selecting Restore from the File menu.

Root’s Magic: Importing another file type into Roots Magic

  • Close the file you are currently working on.
  • Select import from the dialogue box.
    • Select GEDCOM and locate the GEDCOM file you wish to import.
    • Give your file a name and make sure that LDS Support and FamilySearch Family Tree support boxes are checked.
  • RootsMagic will create a new file using the information that you imported


Some General Notes about GEDCOM

What is a GEDCOM?

You can receive (import) or share (export) RootsMagic files (RM6) with other people or genealogy programs. To import or export information, RootsMagic uses a computer file called a GEDCOM. GEDCOM stands for Genealogical Data Communications. It is a type of file that takes genealogy information from one program and compresses it into a standard format which can be transferred into any other genealogy program. It was developed by the Family and Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to provide a flexible, uniform format for exchanging genealogical data. Almost all genealogy programs will accept a GEDCOM file. Importing and exporting a GEDCOM file is usually the best way to receive or send your genealogical information.

To make a GEDCOM in RootsMagic:

In order to create a GEDCOM file from RM6 you must use the export option. You can access it by clicking File menu and then selecting Export (see “Saving Information” Step 2 above).