14 January 2017

RootsMagic vs. Legacy?

This my third journal entry for my BYU-Idaho FHGen120 class. I did not post my last entry because it was a little too personal for me to share publicly. Each journal request begins with a quote.

 "After you find the first few generations, the road will become more difficult. . . . You will be tempted to stop and leave the hard work of finding to others who are more expert or to another time in your life. But you will also feel a tug on your heart to go on in the work, hard as it will be. As you decide, remember that the names which will be so difficult to find are of real people to whom you owe your existence in this world and whom you will meet again in the spirit world. . . . Their hearts are bound to you. Their hope is in your hands. You will have more than your own strength as you choose to labor on to find them."
Henry B. Eyring, in Conference Report, Apr. 2005, 82; or Ensign, May 2005, 79-80. 

What were your experiences?
This week was all about RootsMagic. This class focuses on using technology for family history. Because of the many different programs available BYU-I has decided to use RootsMagic as a tool for their students to use. I understand the need for a database of your own. I have been a Legacy user for longer than I can remember. I attended a Family History class at my church and the couple teaching the class were legacy users. I began using Legacy while PAF was still available but I never used PAF. I feel I am an advanced user of Legacy. I have taken several classes, watched the Legacy Webinars with Geoff Rasmussen since they started. I even met Geoff and took a selfie with him. I guess I am some sort of Legacy fanboy. 

When Legacy 8 rolled out I was impressed with some of the functionality but also dissatisfied with common program errors I was seeing with the source clipboard. If I leave Legacy open for more than a day or If I added more than two sources the clipboard would be blank the next time I opened it and Then the program would shut down. I had to restart my computer to get the clipboard to work again. I remember speaking to a Legacy representative at the Legacy booth, at the Ogden FamilySearch Library Conference at Weber State University, and telling him about my frustration. He took me aside and had me show him on my computer the error I was getting. Luckily, I was familiar enough with the program I could replicate the error in no time. He told me they would address the issue and thanked me for drawing it to his attention.

The next year at the same conference he asked me if the error had been resolved. I told him no. He took my information and had a tech call me to get information about my system, the other programs I use and how to generate the error. Within a few weeks they made an update and made the error much less frequent. Then they made another update and the error returned. I have modified the way I use the source clipboard to reduce the number of errors I get. Now I cannot predict when it will happen. I just shut down my computer much more regularly.

I paid for and downloaded RootsMagic almost two years ago when I started my classes at BYU-Idaho. I soon after attended RootsTech and visited the RootsMagic booth. I asked how to get me carefully crafted sources working in RootsMagic and they told me it was impossible. That the import would only transfer the information as text instead of the active database I have crafted for over ten years. I am at a crossroads and I am still not sure what path to take.

One things I can say about Legacy is that I feel very comfortable using it. I know it inside and out. I also see the same representative at their booth at the different conferences I have attended here in Utah. He always remembers me and seems sincerely interested in me as a consumer and friend. When I attend the RootsMagic booths they seem like a real circus. I get different answers depending on who I talk to. They appear very polished and well-funded compared to Legacy. RootsMagic also seems very popular with conference attenders and my fellow employees.

What did you learn?
I learned that RootsMagic has many of the same functions as Legacy. I assume that most genealogy programs have to have similar functionality because they track similar items and their users have similar needs. I learned that RootsMagic also has record numbers but I find the way I use the RIN numbers in Legacy would not be as useful or helpful as the comparable record numbers in RootsMagic.

My naming standard for files of images and documents in my database use the person’s name followed by a dash, then a keyword about the type of record, then the RIN number of the person in my file. RichardJuniorTrotter-birth-RIN11.jpg

I can find people in Legacy by RIN number more easily as I can by their name. This functionally may be available in RootsMagic but I am not as familiar with the program as I am Legacy. This is a base function of Legacy and a key to the personal resources I have gathered.

I also learned that RootsMagic has a built-in research log! As I have taken classes from Legacy they have downplayed the need for a research log. They have said that the Events/Facts that are assigned to each person serves as a log, along with the To-Do list with the ability to report and track needed items and results of the search. The Legacy To-Do list can be assigned in-general and to individuals. I admit I do not use the functionality of the To-Do list as much as I feel I would a research log.

RootsMagic has a real research log accessible throughout the program. You can name the log, assign it in general or to a family, person, event, or place. You also define the objective of the log and then can add separate items to the log. Each item has a date and reference number as-well-as the ability to state what you are trying to find, what source you checked, where you checked, and the results of your search. The tutorials from RootsMagic, like Legacy, suggest that you also use the To-Do list in conjunction with the research log. Tasks can be defined as well as the details of the task and where you suggest to look for the item/fact. I LOVE the fact that from each To-Do task you can click a button and transfer the task to the research log. This resolves so many questions I have had about incorporating a research log with my database. Knowing what I know now, this functionality alone may have sold me on using RootsMagic.

The last thing I would like to mention about what I learned about sourcing in RootsMagic. Much of the way sources are created is the same between Legacy and RootsMagic. They have some subtle differences but both do a good job creating the information. However, Legacy allows me to not only create the source but also to add it to the source clipboard. This subtle difference may be lost on some but for me it is a huge difference, and the reason I now understand why transferring source information from Legacy is handled so poorly.

The source clipboard in Legacy allows you to attach the source you have entered to specific facts or events. For example, I find a census record for a family. I can enter the source and add it to the clipboard. Then I can simple click one button and add the source to each data entry point. This is useful because the census record may have a different spelling for a name than you have recorded. You can add the alternate name and tag just that name with the source. Then later when you are evaluating or doing further research on that person you can look at all the alternate names to see which one has the most sources. If you are confused about where to look for records you can pull up a residence location and see how many documents point to each location.

This is different from RootsMagic in that attached sources are for events/facts in general, not for each fact. An individual’s record is made up a many details; names, dates, locations, evidence/facts. In Legacy each detail can be sourced, in RootsMagic all the details are treated as one fact and sources as applied to all details as a whole. This makes weighing and evaluating your research harder. It also makes those who are following your research look through many more files for specific details. For this reason alone, I have so far decided that Legacy will be my main database and research tool.

What obstacles did you have and how did you overcome them?
There were no real obstacles for the class this week. Honestly, this is the best week I have had in classes from BYU-I. I feel a learned a great deal about what they wanted me to learn and I also answered many other questions I had about RootsMagic. This truly is a great tool for beginner and intermediate users. If I were not 11,000 plus sourced names in Legacy I would have switched. I am hoping the ability to source small details truly helps my research more.

What tender mercies or miracles did you witness?
I have long had the knowledge of the importance of a personal family history database, and also of the power and importance of sourcing information. This week I saw a glimpse of how a research log can help me and how it can work with a database. This is a clearest view I have ever had about research logs. I will need time to see how it will benefit my research.

As stated above I have learned many things this week. A tender mercy that was witnessed to me this week was that I trust Heavenly Father. He loves me. If I live worthily he will bless me. I have the ability to accomplish his work. I need to continue to trust in him. I have more than a hope of his love for me, I believe do does. This tender mercy came to me through work related experiences that were revealed this week and not necessarily though this specific assignment.

Do you have any helpful tips to share?
I would encourage anyone to learn about the Legacy Source Clipboard. Here are several links to learn about it:

A great resource is this free webinar: http://familytreewebinars.com/download.php?webinar_id=201

I would also encourage you to watch the RootsMagic webinar #32 New Research Log and Manager in RootsMagic 5: http://files.rootsmagic.com/webinars/2012-03-29-New-Research-Logs-and-Manager-in-RootsMagic-5.mp4

What resources were most useful to you?
The resources in class pointed to the RootsMagic webinars. I am not sure I can discuss much more than that in a public forum.

In what ways did you receive “more than your own strength?”
I have felt this blessing of more than my own strength many times in my life when trying to accomplish something. The lesson this week brought me clarity of the research tool in RootsMagic. I know there is much work to be done. I have already started my personal research from the beginning. I have learned much and found much in my research. I know there is more to learn and do. This week I learned that I am not the only one who wants the work done. This is where more than my own strength comes from.