I can honestly say that I have tried just about every genealogy database program available for a Windows PC, several versions with most. About a year ago I tried RootsMagic and really liked it. So much so that I deleted all the other programs off my computer and almost lost my ex-husband’s database entirely! (I thought that I had transferred it to RootMagic when I hadn’t. Fortunately, I had saved a .ged file that I ran across misfiled with my tax returns. Well-organized, that’s me!)
Anyway, a few weeks ago I downloaded the beta version of RootsMagic 4. Wow, what a difference! But a good difference, believe me. The interface is bright and colorful and happy and definitely user-friendly. The Media Gallery is also a big improvement. The way it handles sources is good, too. Not great, but good. I don’t totally love the way any of the other programs that I have tried do sources, either. Some are very confusing and have too much replication. But RM4 is probably at the top of the list. Tons of in-depth reports are available, too.
My favorite feature is RootsMagic To-Go. You can install RootsMagic 4 on your USB thumb drive, transfer your database to the drive, drop it in your pocket or purse and…ALWAYS HAVE YOUR DATABASE WITH YOU! Never again will you find yourself walking 2 blocks down the street from the courthouse to the downtown Fort Worth main library (You know the one. The library that has the big genealogy section with all of the books that aren’t available at the satellite libraries!) while killing time waiting to get selected for jury duty, only to find some info that you really wish you had your computer with you to verify something! Just plug your USB drive into that library computer and you can update your own database right then and there! When you get back home, you can just add the updated stuff to your home computer. The only drawback is that you can’t add images, probably because they use so much memory. But you can just download the image to your USB drive (not in RootsMagic) and then add it when you get home. The RootsMagic 4 program that I downloaded last night is 33.7 MB, so I think a 1 GB USB drive should work, and they are pretty cheap these days. Best Buy has a 2 GB for $14, Walmart has several for < $10.