Monday, October 26, 2009

Book Review of Getting the Most Out of RootsMagic 4

RootsMagic 4 is the latest edition of a popular genealogy software series. The program allows family historians, hobbyists and professionals to record ancestral lines, create family trees, publish documents and more based on user preferences. Though it’s easy to get started with the program, there are so many features that users may miss some while concentrating on others. How do you know what you don’t know about RootsMagic 4? Fortunately, there’s a book to enlighten readers on all the features the program has to offer.

Getting the Most Out of RootsMagic Version 4 (affiliate link) is the companion book to the program of the same name. It is divided into many chapters, each covering a different step or feature of the program. Section titles include: The Main Screen, Editing People, Sources – Proving It, and Wall Charts & Timelines. The chapters also provide further guidance through tips, warnings and notes readers can use to enhance the user experience.

Author Bruce Buzbee clearly states in the introduction that this book is not intended to be a software manual. Getting the Most Out of RootsMagic Version 4 does begin with brief introductions on creating a database. However, after a few pages of basic details, the subject matter focuses on all the bells and whistles offered in the program. Readers needing more introductory guidance and technological hand-holding may want to seek out a tutorial, or play with RootsMagic 4 a bit to get used to the program’s feel.

There are many illustrations throughout the book acting as guides to the program’s features. All are in black and white, which would be an issue if this book claimed to be a step-by-step resource. However, the images are acceptable for the type of book advertised, and likely keep the cover price down as well. As they are, the illustrations are clear and uncluttered making it easy for readers to follow along with the examples.

RootsMagic 4 is a powerful genealogy program with a ton of wonderful features. So many features, in fact, that it’s easy for users to miss some of the best details. Getting the Most Out of RootsMagic Version 4 spells out each tool so readers will be aware of each and every one by the time they finish the book. RootsMagic 4 users should read the book at least once, though readers would also benefit from a second (or third) browse through the pages as their experience with the program grows.

Getting the Most Out of RootsMagic 4, by Bruce Buzbee. 336 pages. $14.95. ISBN 1-932932-07-0

[Note: I received a copy of this book from the author. There was no expectation/implication that a review be written, nor was I endorsed by author or publisher for the piece. The opinions stated above are my own as a user of genealogy products.]


  1. I love the RootsMagic 4 program. I upgraded from RootsMagic 3 and just received my copy of the book this week. I look forward to reading it.

    Thanks for writing this review!

  2. This book has proved to be VERY helpful for me. It's covered in yellow highlights and Post-It notes are sticking out of it everywhere. It is well worth the money.