Saturday, August 29, 2009

RootsMagic vs. Legacy - Part I

Since I've decided to take the RootsMagic cruise, I've been testing out their software. From some reviews I'd seen of it, I thought that it wasn't much different from Legacy. However, since I've been using it in the last twelve hours and testing out some of the features, I *think* I like it better than Legacy. Who knows? Maybe I will be converted to RootsMagic by the time of the cruise. I really don't want to change software again, but I really like several features of RootsMagic.

First, the layout of RootsMagic is more telling on the screen. In the family view, a couple and their children are shown with the full birth and death info on the screen for each child. In Legacy, each child is listed in the family view, but it only has the name of the child and the birth and death years, such as "John Doe (1896-1940)." I had the full family view using FTM and was slightly disappointed when I switched to Legacy and no longer had the full view. There is an option in Legacy to toggle over a child to see the full info in a popup box, but even then, some of the info is cut off.

In RootsMagic, I can also see the age at marriage in the family view for the husband, wife, or child highlighted. In Legacy, you can see the age at marriage, but you have to click on the marriage information screen to see this. It does not show up in family view. For the child's marriage age in Legacy, you would have to go into the child's family view and then click on his or her marriage info screen, so that involves even more clicking!

I also like that it's much easier to share an event between individuals in RootsMagic than in Legacy. Legacy requires a lot of clicking and switching screen shots to copy and paste an event. In RootsMagic, I can just double click on the event in the edit person screen, then click on "share" to the right, and choose the other people involved in the event. I can choose as many people as I want and even add new people that are not already in my database. I think this is going to be really great for census records. I can also assign roles to these people.

Another neat thing in RootsMagic is that you can share a child's birth event with the parents. In the parent's edit person screen, the child's birth shows up in the facts list, and the parent's age at the time of the child's birth is given. In Legacy, the child's birth only shows up in the Chronology view for a parent. It does not show up in the edit person view. I think that in Legacy, I could create a "Child Birth" event, but then it would show up double on the chronology view/report, unless I told it to not use this event in reports. Still, the parent's age would not show up in the edit person view. Only the event and the description of the event would show up.

The sourcing function in RootsMagic is more sophisticated than Legacy's. They both have templates based on Elizabeth Shown Mills' Evidence Explained, but RootsMagic has more specific and accurate templates than Legacy does. For instance, I'm frequently having to override Legacy's templates to get them to look like Elizabeth Shown Mills' citations, but I find that I do not have to do this in RootsMagic. RootsMagic does not give the option to override, but it does give the option to create my own template, which Legacy does not do. I would prefer to create my own template rather than override. So far, I have not even had to create my own template, however, because the ones provided by RootsMagic have mimicked Mills' citations to the tee. I think that Legacy's templates are more generic and have more bugs in them.

Of course, I am still not done testing out RootsMagic, so I have labeled this post "Part I." I'm sure that I will come up with some more features to compare. I do have to note that Legacy does have excellent customer service. Once, I sent a request to the Help Desk to add a template for the 1890 Veterans' Census - Online Images. I got an email back from Geoff Rasmussen, co-founder of Millenia Corporation, telling me that it would be in the next update. Now that's customer service!!

One thing that I do like about Legacy better than RootsMagic is that Legacy allows me to source the mother and father relationship. I got around that in RootsMagic by creating an event called "Father Relationship" and "Mother Relationship." I'm just not sure how this event will show up in reports. I know that in Legacy, I can choose "show relationships" for reports, and the sources will show up on the report. Though the function does not work properly on family group sheets in Legacy. There is still a bug they have to fix. I usually use the function in Individual Reports in Legacy instead.

UPDATE: Sue tells me that in the edit person screen, underneath the person's name, is the name of the person's spouse(s) and parents. Sure enough, if I highlight the person's parents, to the right is a button called "Sources." The person's relationship (birth, adoption, step, etc) to the parents is above this. So this is where I can source mother and father relationships. Thanks, Sue!


  1. You can add notes, sources and media to a family. Go to a person's edit screen and click on the spouse's name on that page. It's right below the person's name. You will notice that in the right hand column there is a section entitled "Spouse Family Details". You can add your family notes, sources,media, addresses, and to-do's right there.

  2. I agree. Their source templates are amazing! I also appreciate the fact that I can see both the source and source details on one screen instead of working on one then the other.

    Shared events has been a lifesaver especially in regards to the census records as you've mentioned before. I'm thinking of ship manifests as well! Big time saver.

    I have shared a child's birth with the parents (since they're there ;) ) which makes it nice to see it in their edit screen. I then add the child's birth source to the family. That's just me though.