RM8 Source Templates

When it comes to recording sources for our genealogy research, we all likely have our own unique methods. I know that some people use Free Form citations while others may copy/paste a citation from Ancestry or other sites. For me, I use templates to prompt me for the various pieces of information and to insert the correct punctuation.

RootsMagic 7 and 8 has templates built in that make this process easy.

When I first started using RootsMagic, I used these built-in templates. However, I soon discovered that one cannot modify a built-in template. Thus, I started making a copy of a built-in template so that I could control the template. To do this, I highlight the desired template and click the COPY button. This opens the ‘Copy this template’ window

Answerinig ‘YES’ to the question adds the copy to the list of templates.

Highlighting the copied template and clicking on the EDIT button opens the template allowing me to change the name of the source type and to modify the template when desired.

The SOURCE TEMPLATE window in RM 8 is very similar to that from RM7. Any field with an X in the D column is considered a SOURCE DETAIL FIELD. At the bottom of the SOURCE TEMPLATE FIELD window is a check box by the statement ‘This field is a source detail field.’ If this box is checked then the X is placed in the D column. The fields with an X in the D column form the CITATION in RM8.

Once I make any changes to the fields, I then change the name of the source type. I have elected to name the templates I’ve created with a name beginning with _EE_. Thus, I place _EE_ ahead of the name and then remove the word (Copy) from the end of the name.

By naming my templates in this manner, they appear at the top of the list of templates.

One of the templates I had previously modified was the ‘Census, U.S. Federal (Online images)’ template

By having my own template, I was able to add two fields [Image] and [ImageTotal]. I also modified the Footnote Template to include those two pieces of information.

Thus, when I encounter a source that I haven’t already used, such as the 1870 census for Jennings County, Indiana, I can click on the ADD NEW SOURCE button in the upper left of the Select Source window.

Then I locate my template for federal census records from the list.

This opens the Add New Source window where I can enter the information for the source.

I then fill in the information from the source.

When finished adding the source info, I click on next. This opens the ADD CITATION portion of the window. The information in the CITATION DETAILS section of this window are those fields marked as DETAIL FIELDS in my template.

I then add the information from the source.

As I add the citation information, the footnote is updated.

NOTE: For now, I am letting the program generate the ‘CITATION NAME’. I haven’t figured out a naming process that would work on a wide variety of citations and am satisfied that I can find a citation from a list of citations for a source.

Once the citation is saved, I then go back into the source citation to add the Research Note and attach a media file.

When working with Ancestry, I usually use Ctrl-C to copy the information from the Ancestry record and then use CTRL-Shift-V to paste that information into the Research note Field.

Remembering to Click the Check mark in the upper right corner, the note is saved and attached to the citation.

My templates aren’t perfect, but they help me get the details recorded and structure the citations without having to remember every detail.

RM8 Citation Names

Do you have a particular way you name images and other files saved while doing your genealogy research? Or, do you let the program create the name?

Now as I’m moving to RootsMagic 8, I’m faced with the need to decide how I’m going to answer that question in regards to naming my citations. Having worked with the preview version of RM8, I was aware of the need for a citation name. I was also aware that the importing of my data would automatically create a citation name for my existing citations. These imported names are based on the ‘Source Details’ in the RM7 source.

So, some of my sources imported with these weird citation names, many starting with “viewed online”.

Find a Grave Citations – RM8

Since playing around in the preview version, I’ve been thinking about these citation names. I know that I won’t be going back thru my existing citations to rename them.

So, I started looking at various types of sources to see what would happen if I let the program generate the citation name.

Deed Citations – RM 8
Pension Citations – RM 8
Census Citations – RM 8

I found that most of my citations have the person’s name included in the citation name. The one exception that I found to that was my newspaper citations. Since these use the article title to build the citation name, they often don’t include the person’s name.

Newspaper Citations – RM 8

Since I can easily find out who the citation is attached to, I’m not sure that this is an issue.

Based on this brief study of the citation names in my file, I’m going to give control to the software and let it continue generating the citation names.

RM8 WebSearch

When transitioning to new version of software, do you ever discover a feature or tool that you didn’t realize was available in the older version? That’s me when it comes to the WebSearch feature. Now, that I’ve discovered it, I want to figure out how to put this tool to work for me.

There are at least two ways to access this tool. The first is via the Command Palette.

The second is via the WebSearch icon on the Search screen.

When WebSearch is opened, the list of individuals in the file is on the bottom half of the column with options, including a choice of search providers, at the top.

Typing in the name of an individual will narrow the list.

Clicking on a name (to highlight them) and then clicking on FIND button, will search the chosen provider and show results in the RM window. There is an option to show the results in a browser if desired.

RootsMagic has built in many of the major research sites including

  • Ancestry
  • FamilySearch
  • Find a Grave
  • Find My Past
  • Fold3
  • Genealogy Bank
  • Google
  • Bing
  • MyHeritage
  • Yahoo!

I can add additional sites to the list by clicking on Edit providers.

This opens a window to remove a standard provider or to add a custom search provider. Clicking the ADD button opens a window with instructions.

So, to add a site like Newspapers.com, I typed the following in the search bar: John Doe (1700-1800)

When the search completed, I located the URL in the top of my browser window.

I copied that URL into the box for the Search Results URL and put Newspapers.com in the Provider name box.

That added Newspapers.com to my list of providers. When I tried to search Newspapers.com, it did not work. I’m assuming that is because RootsMagic does not know my user ID and password for the site.

When I put a CHECK in the box for External Browser and re-ran the search, a new tab opened in my browser searching Newspapers.com for the selected individual.

Not only can I add another genealogy site, I can add specific databases. For example, I use the Kansas census records a lot. Those census records are in the Ancestry database, Kansas, U.S., State Census Collection, 1855-1925. So, I followed the same procedure, except that I had to put the name and birth year in the respective boxes.

Even though I didn’t have a ‘death’ date, the search of the database worked. I was able to show the results in the RM screen and in my browser.

So, what about you? Do you have favorite sites or databases that you regularly use? If so, you may find this tool very useful.

RM8 Citations Revisited

Does working with sources in RootsMagic confuse you? I know it took me a while to figure out the ‘Master Source’ vs the ‘Source Details’ aspects of a source in RootsMagic 7 (RM7). And now that I’m comfortable with that terminology and their uses, the terminology changes slightly in RootsMagic 8 (RM8). The term ‘Source Details’ has been replaced with the term ‘Citation’.

In RM7, I often copied and pasted a source (including the details) from one person or fact to another. For example, I would copy/paste a source for Find a Grave from the burial fact to the birth and death facts. I also did this with census records, copying and pasting the source from the fact for the head of household to the similar fact for everyone living in the household.

In RM7, if I made a change to one copy of a source, my change was not made to all copies. I recently added two source detail fields to my source template for online census records: Image# and ImageTotal. As I’ve been reviewing the data I have for my second great-grandparents, I’ve been updating their census sources. That means that I have to either copy/paste the newly updated record to the other members of the household and delete the original source or go into the source for each household member and add this additional information.

This is where the changes in RM8 are powerful. Instead of having to make the change for every time I used the source, I can make the change in the citation (formerly called Source Details) and that change will be ‘copied’ to all events using the source.

Unfortunately, the ‘Source Details’ from RM7 import as individual Citations in RM8. For larger files, this creates a LOT of citations – and a LOT of work to merge the duplicates. During the RM8 preview, I wrote about this issue in the post, RM8 Citations.

Since I consider this change in the way RM handles source information to be a major upgrade, I want to take advantage of it. However, this means that I have to get those duplicate citations merged. The sources page tells me how many citations I have attached to a particular source. As I scroll thru my list, I find that my Find a Grave source has over 11,000 citations associated with it.

Thus, merging these citation individual will be a daunting task. Since there is a ‘MERGE ALL’ function, I started digging to see what fields are used for comparison for this merge. I found the following information in a comment by Renee on a July 8 post in the RootsMagic 8 Preview group on FB. (Note: I’m trying to confirm that this list is still accurate.)

Based on my experience with merging of Repositories and the above information posted by Renee, I decided to run a test of the ‘Merge All’ function.

I crated a new file and ran the merge all function on this new file. Then I looked at some sources to see what happened with the citations. I found that a lot of the duplicates were merged. However, I also found that some weren’t merged if there was a slight difference in the citation.

This experimentation showed me that the conditions the software sets for the merge are pretty exacting. Thus, I decided to go ahead and merge my citations — after backing up my file first.

To document the merge, I went to the Home page and recorded 76,574 citations.

I also took a screen shot of a random area of my list of citations — the 1900 Kansas census sources.

I then took a screen shot of one of those census sources that had quite a few citations attached to it – the 1900 Republic County, Kansas record.

Then, I clicked on the 3 vertical dots in the upper right of the SOURCES section to open the menu. On that menu, I selected MERGE ALL DUPLICATE CITATIONS and waited.

Once the merge was finished, I rechecked my number of citations and it was down to 21,349. That’s over 55,000 citations that were merged. Even with the best of intentions, I would not tackle that on my own.

Then I looked at the same sections of my sources lists to see what happened. This screen also showed a significant drop in the number of citations associated with a source.

Republic County went from 22 citations to 2 citations.

Looking at some of the other lists of citations for the 1900 Kansas census, I found some examples of citations that were not merged.

Several of the citations listed for Ford County could be merged. However, they are slightly different. This slight difference kept them from being merged by the ‘Merge All Citations’ tool.

This ‘Merge All’ tool is powerful. However, it requires a knowledge of how sources and source details were created in RM7. A preview user reported that it merged all of her directory citations because the only difference was the image file. Since the image file was not one of the items considered at the time, those citations got merged when they should not have been.

Thus, this ‘Merge All Citations’ tool should be used with caution — an only after backing up ones file.

RM8 Places

When entering a place for an event, have you noticed the “pop-up” that prompts you to select a place from the list?

Do you ever get frustrated when there are several similar or the same appear in the list?

This happens when the place list gets ‘corrupted’. For me, that means I either typed in a place and didn’t select it from either the list or the gazateer OR I imported the person/event from some other source. Either way, I have had to periodically go thru my list of places and merge those duplicates. This concept is the same in RM8 as it was in RM7.

However, RootsMagic 8 adds some layers to the process.

  • Address
  • Repositories
  • Places
  • Place Details

Addresses are easily accessible using the left menu heading. Since I only have 3 addresses (email addresses) in RootsMagic, I don’t have any addresses to merge.

However, I do have some repositories that should be merged. To access the list of repositories, I used the COMMAND PALETTE (icon like a paint palette in upper right corner).

In looking over my list of repositories, I found a few that need merged.

  • Ancestry.com (not sure how/why I have two in the list)
  • Ford County Kansas Register of Deeds and Register of Deeds, Ford County Courthouse
  • Office of Vital Statistics, Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Kansas State department of Health and Environment

Clicking on the 3 vertical dots in the upper right corner of the Repositories list, a menu appears.

Since the only option was to ‘Merge All Duplicate Repositories’, I clicked on the ‘PRINT REPOSITORIES’ option to create a report.

I only selected the ‘ADDRESS’ and ‘NOTE” report options and generated a report I saved the resulting report as a PDF.

Before merging the repositories, I elected to go to the FILE menu and make a backup. By having the pdf report and a backup, I am ready to attempt the ‘merge all’ option. And nothing was merged.

Since two of my known duplicates have different names, I didn’t expect the ‘merge all’ to merge them. However, it thought the Ancestry repositories would get merged.

Looking at the ‘Edit Repository’ information for my two Ancestry entries found that one had information entered for the website while the other did not.

After I copied the web address from the one Ancestry entry into the address for the second Ancestry entry, the ‘Merge All Duplicate Repositories’ merged them into one entry. Thus, it appears that the information has to be exactly the same for two repositories to get merged.

Since my duplicate repositories for the Ford County Register of Deeds did not merge, I tried the following:

  • Decided which repository name to keep – Ford County Kansas Register of Deeds
  • Copied that Repository name to the name of the repository I wanted to merge with that original
  • Pulled down the 3 vertical dot menus and ran the ‘Merge All … ‘ function

This merged my Ford County Register of Deeds Repositories.

I tried a similar task with my duplicate repositories for the Kansas Office of Vital Statistics. This time, I made sure the name was the same, but I changed the address on one by removing the name of the state. When I tried the merge feature again, these duplicate repositories were NOT merged. Thus, it is likely the information in the Repository fields also must match.

Since I don’t have very many duplicates, getting the two records to look alike and then running the ‘Merge All …’ function will work.


Merging Places in RM8 is very similar to merging places in RM7. From the list of places, select (and thus highlight) the place you would like to keep.

Click on the 3 vertical dots in the upper right corner of the Places section to open the menu.

Click on MERGE PLACES to open the ‘SELECT PLACE’ window.

Put a check mark by the place you want to merge INTO the selected place and click OK. Continue working thru your list of places.

Place Details

Since place details are associated with a specific place, they will have to be merged one place at a time. Fortunately, I do not have a lot of places with details. On the places screen, there is a column titled ‘Details’ that indicates the number of place details associated with that place.

If I click on the > next to the number of details for a place (in my case, 118 for Dodge City), it opens a slide-out screen listing those Place Details.

On this screen, I can see how often the Place Detail was used.

On the ‘EDIT PLACE DETAIL’ portion of the screen, there is a > next to the events. Clicking on the > opens a slide-out that lists the events using that Place Detail

In my list of PLACE DETAILS for Dodge City, I have quite a few that could be merged. Clicking on the 3 vertical dots in the upper right corner of the Place Details screen reveals a menu with the option to MERGE PLACE DETAILS.

With the PLACE DETAIL that you want to keep HIGHLIGHTED, click on the 3 vertical dots and then on the menu item to open the SELECT PLACE window. (Be sure to have the place you want to keep selected (highlighted) before clicking on the menu.)

The Select Place Menu indicates that I am selecting PLACES TO MERGE WITH THIS ONE and then lists the place detail that I had highlighted.

Then select the ‘place details’ from the list that you wish to merge.

Click OK. The selected place details are now merged. Continue the same process with other place details.

I merged my PLACE DETAILS prior to working on my PLACES. As I was working my way thru the list, I realized that some of the places I need to merge have lots of place details associated with them. Thus, I believe it would be more time efficient to merge places first and then place details.

RM7 to RM8 Migration

Did you hear? RootsMagic 8 was officially released yesterday. For some RootsMagic 7 users, it is time to migrate to RootsMagic 8.

The migration process is very simple — IF — you know where your files are being stored and where you want RootsMagic 8 files stored. For those who don’t know where their files are being stored, the answer is in the settings for RM7.

In RootsMagic 7, pull down the TOOLS menu and select PROGRAM OPTIONS.

Once the Program Optioins window opens, click on FOLDERS in the left column. That will display the path or location where the various RootsMagic 7 files are stored. If you want to use these same folders, then either write down these paths or take a screen shot.

To maintain links to the media files, the folder for Multimedia files should be the same in RM8 as used in RM7. Since RM8 uses a different file extension for the data file, the same folder can be used. If backup software is used to backup or copy your RootsMagic data to the cloud or to an external hard drive, then either the same folders need used or the directions for the backup need amended to include the new locations.

Then in RootsMagic 8:

When opening the program without an open file, there are three ‘menu’ options down the left side of the screen: Home, File and Settings.

The SETTINGS menu allows you to configure the program settings and the default folders

The FOLDER SETTINGS is where the default locations are entered.

With the folder settings configured, click on FILE on the left to open the FILE MENU.

To get to the import menu, Click on the CREATE A NEW ROOTSMAGIC FILE.

For importing RM7 data, click on IMPORT from RootsMagic 1-7, GEDCOM or another Program to see the list of import options.

Click on RootsMagic 1-7. Note: RootsMagic will search you folder file for potential files to import. If the file is not listed, there is a ‘BROWSE FOR FILE’ option at the bottom of the screen.

IF the desired file is in the list, select it. This will open a new slide-out showing various places to store the RM8 file along with the option to browse for the destination at the bottom.

Clicking on the desired destination opens a Windows Explorer window providing the option to give the file a new name (as well as the ability to change the folder).

Once the file name and location has been verified (or changed), click the SAVE button.

Saving the file will prompt a ‘NEW FILE OPTIONS’ window to open.

Make desired changes to the NEW FILE OPTIONS and click the OK button. The import process will begin and the file will open.

It’s that simple. It is actually so easy to migrate from RM7 to RM8, that one could import a file to play with in RM8 while keeping their primary data in RM7. After learning how the program works, a new import could be done of the working RM7 file to make the permanent transition.

RootsMagic 8

It’s Official! RootsMagic 8 has been released.

This post has been turned into a PAGE with a link at the top of this site. The page will be updated as more RM8 blogs are published.

I have been fortunate to have participated in the preview of RootsMagic 8. In the process, I wrote several blog posts about those experiences. Some of those posts may be helpful to others as they begin using RootsMagic 8.

Below is a list of those posts: