I am asked all the time why I left Legacy Family Tree for RootsMagic. Finally I am going to attempt to explain that. It would be so much easier if I could have you sit beside me as I try to describe what convinced this once devoted Legacy user to jump ship. It all happened in July of 2007. I was watching a demonstration on the new Legacy 7 at a BYU Conference. I saw Bruce Buzbee the creator of RootsMagic attending the presentation. I thought he was taking notes so he could keep up with what Legacy had coming out. I actually wrote about that in a blog article and said the Legacy was ahead of the game.
My knowledge of RootsMagic was very limited at that time. I owned RootsMagic 1 but I don't think I ever used it. I had watched a demonstration of RootsMagic at the UVPAFUG but wasn't looking to change. I guess I needed a comparison. At the time I wasn't thinking about changing my genealogy program because I was so happy with Legacy. I still like Legacy it's a great program I don't think a person could go wrong with it. Choosing a genealogy program is all up to personal preferences and choice.
I was a member of the RootsMagic mailing list at the time my article came out, saying Legacy was ahead of the game. RootsMagic users were readers of my blog and they took offense to me saying Legacy was ahead. I read the comments and was struck when some RootsMagic users said they wanted to convert me over. It made me realize that I was not being very open minded about RootsMagic. Since I was happy with what I had in Legacy. I thought, in my narrow mindedness, how could there be anything better. I set out to give it a far chance.
The very next UVPAFUG meeting I attended the RootsMagic class taught by Bruce Buzbee. He patiently answered my questions and showed me how RootsMagic did things. They were in fact ahead of Legacy 7 and had been for quit a while. I was struck with how much information was on the screens yet how uncluttered and simplified they were. I love spreadsheets and tables and RootsMagic had that look and feel.
One of the other reasons I had attended the RootsMagic class was because my "new" used laptop did not have enough RAM in it to run Legacy. I was actually thinking of options. I found out how lite RootsMagic was and how it would run on my older laptop. The other consideration was how would the program run with new FamilySearch? Just looking at the RootsMagic edit screen made me realize that multiple facts for the same events would be put in chronological order and I would just need to look in one area to get the whole picture. I was a gut feeling that RootsMagic would run better with NFS. At the time I had no concept of what NFS API would even look like. I just thought Bruce had it laid his program out better.
Let me try to give some examples with a few graphics: (Click on the links below to open up a larger image.)
Here is a Legacy Family View.
Here is a RootsMagic 3 Family View.
Since I am a spreadsheet kind of girl I fell in love with the view of the children. I was forever in Legacy having to click onto the children's information to just view their full birth or death date. In RootsMagic I could now see the full event and more children on just one screen.
The other things, I couldn't get a screen capture of, is being able to see the siblings of my great-grandfather by clicking in the upper left hand corner on the "Parents 1" with an arrow. This will give me drop down box with a quick look at his parents and siblings. The spouses arrow does the same thing, giving me the names of any additional spouses. With just a simple click I can see so much and relate them together. In Legacy I need to move to the alt. spouse in a couple of clicks and same for siblings. Then I can't see the family I was trying to compare info with.
The best screens are the edit screens.
First a look at Legacy's individual edit screen.
Now a look at RootsMagic's individual edit screen.
If you will look closely you can see that all the events line up in chronological order. This is like a built in time line. You are also able to see the temple ordinances without having to click on another screen to see them. You can view the marriage date and if there where more than one you could see each spouse and the marriage date in order. You can see the alt. name without clicking on an icon to view it. There is so much more I can see on this one edit screen than when I look at Legacy.
If I had alt. birth or alt. death events my eye can view them right in chronological order on the RootsMagic screen. On the Legacy screen I have to jump from the primary information down to the Events/Facts box.
Now one of the other things I learned about was RootsMagic 4. The RM4 edit screen gets even better.
I don't have to click to open up an event to edit. I can just move my arrow keys to get to the fact and then on the right I can make the changes. The edit portion on the right changes its layout based on every event type.
I really hope you can tell all the great things you can view just looking at the screens. It's to bad you weren't sitting besides me. Then I could demonstrate better the differences.
The other thing that makes me love RootsMagic is the reports and lists. I can create lists out of any event fact I have used in my database. I can also perform searches on any fact. You want something you can create it.
Right now my status is I use Legacy for my main database. Any new databases I have created for others I am using RootsMagic 3. I am waiting for RootsMagic 4 to come out so I can use the direct import from Legacy feature. Everything will transfer over much more smoothly so that is the reason for the wait. Let me tell you the more I use RootsMagic 3 the more I am sold on RootsMagic vs. Legacy. I just move more quickly through the program. I can see more data on one screen yet at first glance it looks like less is there. It's just because it's much more effecient in it's use of retail space.
I can't wait for RootsMagic 4 to come out so I can sync with NFS. Because Legacy doesn't have a beta test available on NFS right now I can't compare their features on NFS. I did compare Legacy and RootsMagic IGI feature and RootsMagic was quicker and brought back more results.
Then there is RootsMagic-To-Go that will let me run the program from my flashdrive. I am always surprised when I go to a family history center and they don't have RootsMagic installed on their computers. It's available for free to FHCs. Now I don't have to worry about where I am I can always use RootsMagic 4 because the program will be on the flashdrive.
Oh, I can't forget RootsMagic 4 will also have a witness feature or the ability to share events. That is something Legacy definitely can't do. You just might want to take a look at the RootsMagic blog to find out all the new features coming in version 4.
Like I said before I was a very happy Legacy user until I gave RootsMagic a chance. Not everyone has the luxury of having the program creator sit down and demonstrate how their program works. But, you can always take a test drive of either program and see for yourself which one works with the way you operate. Just be open minded and you just might change or be strongly convinced that you have the best program for you.
See ya tomorrow, for tomorrow is always another genealogy day!