Five Ways to Improve the RootsMagic Genealogy App

Five Ways to Improve the RootsMagic Genealogy App

Genealogy apps are a handy way to view your family tree data any time anywhere.  I have been using Rootsmagic genealogy software on my PC for years.  So, when I got a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 earlier this year, I couldn’t wait to download the Rootsmagic android app.

It was fairly easy getting my database to Dropbox, and then,  onto my tablet.  I love having my database handy when I am analyzing research away from my computer especially when I am working with someone in PM or email.  While I enjoy the convenience of having my family tree available when I need it, this app is far from perfect. I’d like to detail some of the ways it could improve and make for a better user experience.

1. The app should open on the first try.

Every time I open the Rootsmagic app it crashes.  I have to shut it down.  When I reopen it, it works fine.  I have gotten so used to seeing the “Unfortunately, RootsMagic has stopped” message that I expect it every time.

RootsMagic App's Pedigree Page
Pedigree chart from Rootsmagic App (Source: Screen capture, GooglePlay)

2. It shouldn’t crash when moving from index list to pedigree chart.

The app is finicky when moving from the index to the pedigree.  It crashes about half the time after doing a search and selecting the person’s name.  This seems to be the point that it crashes the most.

3. There should be a preview screen after you select a name from the list.

There are 21 people named Maria Pacheco in my database.  I can’t always tell if I have the right one based on the birth and death years. It would be nice to see a pop up preview before opening that person’s pedigree chart.

4. The search items should stay visible after you’ve clicked on a name.

When I do a search and select a name, the name list reverts back to the original alphabetical list.  I don’t always select the correct one.  Instead of easily picking another name, I have to re-enter my search and do it all over again.

Example of RootsMagic App Individual Screen
Individual Screen (Source: Screen Capture, Google Play)

5. Spouses should be visible for children and siblings on the individual screen.

The Rootsmagic app allows you to see all of an individual’s information.  In the bottom section, it lists the relationships.  As is the case with families 100 or more years ago, names were reused.  Thus, a family might have 2 or more children of the same first name.  It would be nice to have the spouse’s name so I don’t have to flip back and forth.

I want to reiterate that I’m a big fan of RootsMagic.  I really like having the ability to see my database of 11,000+ individuals on my tablet.  There are some things I love about the Rootsmagic app.

  •  It is easy to navigate.  The screens are user friendly and it is easy to find the right screen.
  • Under View, there are four charts to work from:  pedigree, family, descendants, and individual.  I especially like having access to the descendants’ list as I use this quite often.
  • Under Lists, you find the lists that are in the software program:  Source, ToDo, Research, Media, Address, Repository, Correspond, and Place.  While you can’t create lists, you can see the ones you created previously.
  • Under Tools, there are date, relationship, and soundex calculators.  There is also a calendar.  There is a tool bar at the top of each screen which makes it easy to switch between them.
  • The individual pages include quite a bit of information including sources.  It looks like all the custom fields are carried over as well.
  • It accesses information very quickly.

I think the Rootsmagic app is really handy tool for genealogists.  If you use the Rootsmagic software to maintain your family tree, the app is a great way to keep that information on hand for easy access.  It needs some work though.  With a couple of tweaks, it would be a less frustrating experience.

Get the App in the Amazon App Store!

But, first you’ll need the RootsMagic software. The newest version is 7. This package comes with a manual.

Not ready to buy the software? I always recommend testing out genealogy software with a free trial first. You can get a free limited trial version from the RootsMagic website: Try RootsMagic





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Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website,

2 thoughts on “Five Ways to Improve the RootsMagic Genealogy App

  1. Excellent points! I hope you left a review on the Google Play Store or wherever you got the app and provided your feedback to RootsMagic.

  2. Keith, I haven’t left a review or sent feedback yet. It’s a good suggestion though. I’d love to see them improve the app because it really is useful. Thanks for your comment!

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