Getting Started With Genealogy – Roots Magic – Step 1
Before you begin the most amazing work you will ever do, you need to have the tools to do it and to be successful at it. I did not have this advice or know where to start when I first began my genealogy and since then I’ve learned and made mistakes. Please let me help you not to make those same mistakes. 🙂
Even before you start skimming through your old family documents, photos and files, and genealogy records, you should download and create an account at Roots Magic. This is not like the other programs, this is not substituting, or can it be substituted. It will be a key tool in staying organized and accomplishing your genealogy work accurately the first time through.
Unlike other websites that require monthly or annual subscriptions, Roots Magic is a one time fee for the software. You can download it or even buy the disc and have it shipped to you. There is also a free version but the $30 is well worth the features and benefits of staying organized.
Roots Magic is a program that is on your computer. You update it with your pedigree charts including scanned images, all important dates and life events, timelines, and more. If you think you need to save it, there is a place for it. The reason it is so important to use Roots Magic as your home base is because it is a digital format where you can document everything, upload your information to every other ancestry site online (through saving and exporting your documents straight from Roots Magic) and because it cannot be edited.
Let’s focus on that last part for a minute.
Your documents cannot be edited by anyone other than you when you use Roots Magic. Why is this important? Let’s say you were using Ancestry, My Heritage, or Family Tree to store and keep your family records. That is great, these are amazing sites, but…that information is available to everyone who has an account, and in some cases (like Family Search) your relatives on your family tree can be edited by a complete stranger. And if you didn’t have your information documented, you won’t know what your relative’s information originally was, then there is no way to get it back.
Sometimes there is more than one John Smith born in New York in 1880 who married a Kate Jones in 1900. If you have one John Smith and someone claims it is their relative and changes “Kate” to “Cathryn” who are you to say they are wrong or vice-versa? This is why it is important to have your data available on your computer but where you can have your account linked to Family Search.
Through Roots Magic you can link your information to Family Search and have Family Search automatically updated for you and find possible duplicates, but any of the changes on Family Search will not change or alter your originally documents in Roots Magic! Family history insurance! 🙂
The best part about doing this first before you start digging through information is that as you begin to find new names you will have a place to store them. By starting with Roots Magic you can be organized from the beginning. So many times I get so involved in my research that I forget how I’m related to the person I’m searching for, but through Roots Magic I can simply click a button and see the big picture.
Check out all of the amazing benefits and features of Roots Magic and their other genealogy products HERE.
Images provided by me and RootsMagic.com.