RootsMagic 8 Review

Marc McDermott

An award-winning genealogy software, when ​​RootsMagic 8’s was released on October 1st, 2021 it would have been music to many people’s ears. With promises of increased ease of use among other upgrades, there are many plus points to look forward to.

Let’s take a closer look at the ins and outs of the software so the next time you’re researching the roots of your family tree, you can get off to a good start.

Also read our complete list of family tree software reviews.

What’s new in version 8?

The biggest upgrade in the company’s history, RootsMagic 8 boasts many exciting and innovative features to make the user experience better than ever before.

Firstly, they have rewritten all their previous technologies to ensure it works with the latest operating systems, including native support for macOS. This is their way of future-proofing the technology.

Although version 7 was intuitive enough, the main window now allows you to seamlessly switch between different screens without losing your place. Toggle between people, places, sources, media, and more, and the new “couple view” and “descendants view” features give a more convenient insight as you discover new members of your family tree.

For the first time, users can now have more than one person’s edit screen open. All of the individual’s key information is accessible from their edit screen and you can simultaneously switch between family members for ease of use.

Another useful feature that is new to RootsMagic 8 is that different lists of data have their search box. This makes it easier to find matching items within seconds. The advanced search tools have also been grouped.

A streamlined task section makes it easier to bring everything together in one place. Those research logs and to-do items can be attached to people and sources and are easier to search than in previous versions.

Reports and charts can be downloaded into new formats such as .DOCX, Microsoft Excel, .XLSX, and .SVG. It doesn’t end there though, there are also reusable source citations, better places and mapping, and more in an impressive array of features that improves usability and makes creating reports easier.

Is RootsMagic free?

The full version of RootsMagic is not free, but there are options for those who don’t want to pay the $39.95 price for the software.

There is a free version of RootsMagic called RootsMagic Essentials. Although the free version is more on the basic side, there are plenty of features and it is ideal for beginners looking to use genealogy software for the first time.

Anyone looking to upgrade will be able to access more powerful features. Upgrading to the full versions will not cause you to lose any of the data you have already saved.

Is RootsMagic easy to use?

RootsMagic 8 is an easy-to-use software that simplifies the family tree building process. The latest update made it one of the most user-friendly genealogy software packages available. You can add as many relatives to your family tree as you like and navigating is seamless.

The addition of a new main window has made it easier to switch between screens without losing your place and you can even open more than one person’s edit screen at any time.

The interface is easy to navigate and it is where you can switch between the large volumes of data saved including marriage dates, burial dates, occupation, health information, and more.

Also, by automatically scanning online databases, RootsMagic gives you information on a range of matches for any given name, taking a lot of the strain out of genealogy research.

Want to know where your family is across the country? RootsMagic lays it all out for you in their map function. They’ll display each family member anywhere in the world, with pins indicating where the major events occurred such as birth, marriage, death, and more.

Does RootsMagic sync with Ancestry?

Ancestry members can now move data between their RootsMagic files on their computer and their Ancestry tree. This means users can move people, major events, any notes, and even pictures between systems.

RootsMagic has also made it possible for users to share their data and collaborate with others by giving family members access to their Ancestry tree. Not only this, but it is now possible to synchronize changes and new additions to an online tree and the tree saved on a desktop computer.

Furthermore, RootsMagic also offers users the Ancestry Hints option. When potential matches are discovered, uses are promoted to review them within the software. Once a match is confirmed, the new information can be added to matching records in RootsMagic.

Does RootsMagic sync with FamilySearch?

Yes, it does. As a FamilySearch certified genealogy program, RootsMagic can make ancestry discoveries a lot easier. RootsMagic is the most popular software to be used to search the free FamilySearch tree and therefore unlocks the benefits of a resource used by millions of users worldwide.

Users can share notes, discuss, and contribute between the two but even if starting from scratch, it is easy to import an entire family tree from FamilySearch into RootsMagic.

Does RootsMagic sync with MyHeritage?

Yes, it does, MyHeritage users can enjoy the powerful search technology and reap the benefits of RootsMagic as well.

Combine the two tools for a more productive search integrating their “matching” technologies. When a new record comes available, with potential matches, you’ll get a clickable alert from MyHeritage.

These “WebHints” are useful but can be turned off at any time by going to tools, file options, and unchecking WebHints. However, the more tools you have at your disposal, the easier your genealogy search will be.


What is the latest version of RootsMagic?

The latest version is RootsMagic 8. It was released on October 1st, 2021. The biggest release of the company’s 30-year history, it was rewritten to support new technologies and future proof in a way that would otherwise have been impossible with the old code.

How much does RootsMagic cost?

The full version of RootsMagic costs $39.95. This is for the full genealogy & Family Tree Software for Windows/Mac and has a combination of features for casual genealogists as well as anyone serious about digging deeper into their ancestry.

Does RootsMagic work on a Mac?

RootsMagic does work on a Mac, most notably on Mac OS 10.12 and above. Supported systems include macOS Sierra (10.12), High Sierra (10.13), Mojave (10.14), Catalina (10.15), Big Sur (11) or Monterey (12).

How do I download RootsMagic?

To download RootsMagic 8, head to their website, click the link, and save the file onto your hard drive. Then run the downloaded file and it is easy from there. It only takes a couple of minutes for both Windows and Mac users to download RootsMagic.

How do I upgrade to RootsMagic 8?

Anyone using RootsMagic 7 can upgrade through the RootsMagic website. Users can buy the full version or upgrade from here and select the box to receive an email with their key for RootsMagic 7.

An email will come through with the key for RootsMagic 8 and you can upgrade from there. Anyone with RootsMagic 7 or earlier, and Family Origins users can buy the upgrade for a discounted price of $29.95.

Is RootsMagic a subscription?

Unlike many of the genealogy websites out there, RootsMagic costs a one-time fee of $39.95 and there is no subscription option.

Anyone looking to access historical records will need to pay a subscription to use the likes of Ancestry or MyHeritage but building a tree with your personal knowledge and by integrating other programs, users can take advantage of the ancestry finding tools available on RootsMagic.

Anyone curious as to how this works can download RootsMagic Essentials, the free software, and try it for themselves.

Can you use RootsMagic on your iPad?

Yes, RootsMagic is available on iPad, as well as iPhone and iPod touch. This means users can take their family tree with them wherever they go and share new information with loved ones as and when they see them.

The app is free to download from the app store and makes it easy to share a family tree in an instant. It’s a free viewer app that shows the ins and outs of a family tree and uses RootsMagic files without the need to convert them.

Use DropBox or iTunes to send family tree files to your device and this free software can also be used to convert genealogy files into viewable RootsMagic files. These include Family Tree Maker, Legacy Family Tree, PAF, and GEDCOM into viewable RootsMagic files.

How do I contact RootsMagic?

RootsMagic can be contacted via all the usual methods including the following:

  • Sales Questions & Phone Orders: Phone (U.S. & Canada): 1-800-766-8762
  • Phone (International): 1-801-489-3102
  • Hours: Monday to Friday, 8am-5pm (MST)

They also have technical support on their website as well as an online chat between 8 am – 5pm (MST), and can be contacted via the following address:

RootsMagic, Inc.
PO Box 1068
Salem, UT 84653

Who owns RootsMagic?

RootsMagic is owned by RootsMagic Inc. with founder Bruce Buzbee the president. It was founded in 1986 by Buzbee who created a different genealogy product before turning his attention to RootsMagic, releasing it in 2002.

The company’s roots can be traced back even further, with Bruce Buzbee’s interest in genealogy being nurtured by his mother who was a family history librarian. Buzbee attended Brigham Young University.

Final thoughts

RootsMagic 8 is a resource that will please casual and serious genealogy enthusiasts alike. With numerous features and an easy-to-navigate interface, RootsMagic is a tidy piece of software that lays out a family tree using the latest technologies.

These new features set RootsMagic 8 apart from previous versions, and it remains a reasonably priced option for those who don’t wish to spend money on a monthly subscription.

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