Importing from RootsMagic

This page describes how to find items imported from RootsMagic within Family Historian, if the import was done as a direct import from RootsMagic 7, 8 or 9, using Family Historian version or later. It is recommended reading for all RootsMagic users.

Tip: Records may be listed in Family Historian in a different order to the way they are listed in RootsMagic. If you want to compare the lists, you may need to sort the list to match the RootsMagic order of listing. You can sort on any column in a Family Historian record listing by clicking on the column heading (or press the Alt key while clicking to reverse the sort order). Click on the column heading for the record name, the first column, to sort the list in alphabetical order.

RootsMagic ItemFamily Historian Location
PeopleYou can view and edit people records (“Individual” records in Family Historian), in the Property Box. The Property Box is accessible from all Family Historian workspace windows and is used for viewing and editing records of all types. By default, it will display details of the currently selected record in the currently active workspace window. You can select an Individual’s record in nearly all workspace windows, but the first workspace window you will encounter if you are new to Family Historian is the Focus Window.

If an imported record is flagged as Living or Private in RootsMagic, it will have the equivalent record flag in Family Historian. Record flags can be viewed and changed for one or more selected Individuals using the Records Flags command on the Edit menu.

To quickly view a complete list of people in a project, click on the Records Window button on the Navigation Bar (second button down from the top). The records will be displayed in the Records Window. Use the filter options at the top to quickly locate particular Individuals.

The Last Edited date for a person (displayed bottom-left in the Edit Person window, in RootsMagic 7) becomes the Updated date for Individual records, in Family Historian. By default, the Updated date for Individual records is displayed in the last column of the Individuals tab of the Records Window (this is configurable). Click on the column heading to sort on that date, or press the Alt key while clicking on the column heading to reverse the sort. You can also view an Individual’s Updated date in the Property Box when viewing their record. It is displayed on the All tab (rightmost column, first line).
NamesPeople can have multiple names and titles. To view a full list of a given person’s names and titles, click on the ‘more…’ link, to the right of the Name field, in the Main tab of the Property Box. This will display the details in the Names and Titles Dialog. You can also view details of titles in the Facts tab of the Property Box.
FamiliesBoth RootsMagic and Family Historian allow Family record details (facts, notes etc) to be viewed as shared items, when accessing records for either of the parents/spouses. So, for example, in Family Historian you can add or view a shared note for a couple in the Notes tab of the Property Box, when viewing the Individual record for either of the 2 parents/spouses. It is also possible to view a list of Family records if required. On the View menu, click Other Record Lists, and then Families. Family records can also be separately viewed and edited in the Property Box, if required.
FactsFacts (that is events and attributes), are viewed and edited in the Facts tab of the Property Box. Facts can have associated values, dates (and sort dates), places, addresses (“place details” in RootMagic), causes, notes, media – and of course source citations. All of these details are accessible from the Facts tab of the Property Box.

If a fact is marked as Private or Primary in RootsMagic, it will be flagged as Private or Preferred in Family Historian. If a fact is marked as Disproven in RootsMagic, it will be flagged as Rejected in Family Historian. If flagged as Disputed in RootsMagic, it will be flagged as Tentative in Family Historian. To learn more about fact flags, see the “Fact Flags” section of the Help for the Facts tab of the Property Box.
Fact Types and Custom FactsFamily Historian will try to match up imported facts with the equivalent fact type in Family Historian. For example, the ‘Military’ fact in RootsMagic becomes ‘Military Service’ in Family Historian. Depending on the import options you chose, Family Historian may create a fact type within Family Historian for every fact type it encounters when importing; or it may just create a fact type for unrecognised or custom fact types. Any new fact types created in this way will be added to a new fact set, called “RootsMagic Import”. Again, depending on your import options, this fact set may be system-level (accessible from any project) or project-specific.

Amongst other things, fact types contain sentence templates, which are used when generating narrative reports. Family Historian will generate a new sentence template for each new fact type. This will be the Family Historian equivalent of the sentence template used by RootsMagic, with template codes converted appropriately.

Fact types can be viewed in Family Historian’s Fact Types dialog box, by clicking Fact Types on the Tools menu. If any fact types have been created, you will be able to view them by filtering on “RootsMagic Import” (or “RootsMagic Import (project)”) in the Fact Set filter at the top of the window. If this filter option is not available, it just means that there was no need to create any new fact types during the import.

For interest, a project-level fact set can be easily made into a system-level fact set at any time, if required. To do that, click the Fact Sets button in the Fact Types dialog box. Then select the fact set and click the Settings button. In the next window, untick “Current project only”.
Customized Sentences for FactsBoth in RootsMagic and Family Historian, it is possible to customize the sentence that will be generated for a given fact, when details of that fact are displayed in narrative reports. In Family Historian, the sentence that will be used for any fact, is displayed in the Sentence field at the bottom of the Facts tab of the Property Box. You can click on the Sentence field to customize it if you wish to. When you click on the Sentence field, any template codes that are used in it, will be displayed as such.

If a fact’s sentence has been customized in RootsMagic, the customization will be imported into Family Historian. Any template codes that are used in the sentence will be converted to the Family Historian equivalents.

To view a complete list of customized sentences in Family Historian, click on the Tools menu, and then choose the Work with Data submenu, and within that choose Fact/Witness Sentences (in Family Historian you can customize sentences both for facts – i.e. for their principals – and witnesses). If you have never customized any sentences within RootsMagic there will be no customized sentences to view.
PlacesPlace details are primarily associated with facts, and hence can be viewed and edited in the Facts tab of the Property Box. To view full details about a given place (notes, media, etc), double-click on the Place field, or click on the little button with 3 dots to the end of the Place field. This will bring up a place selector with the current place pre-selected. If you click the View in Property Box button, the full details of the Place (latitude and longitude, as well as notes and media) can be viewed and edited. Family Historian will automatically geocode places (locate their latitude and longitude) when you view them in the Map Window, if they haven’t already been geocoded.

There are numerous options for viewing places marked on maps – see the Map Window.

A list of all Place records can be viewed in the Places tab of the Records Window.
Addresses for factsAddress information for facts (events and attributes) is accessed, along with other fact details, in the Facts tab of the Property Box. Notes and latitude & longitude details that are recorded against addresses in RootsMagic, are appended to fact notes when imported into Family Historian. Address notes will be prefixed with “Place Details:”. Latitude & longitude of addresses, if recorded, will be prefixed with “Latitude and Longitude: “. Both of these will be placed within doubled-square brackets (e.g. “[[hidden text]]”) to mark these details as private; so that, by default, they will not be included in reports, even if fact notes are included.

It is also possible to associate media (pictures, video etc.) with addresses in RootsMagic. All such media will be imported into Family Historian as media records and linked to all facts that use the relevant address. You can access fact media from the Facts tab of the Property Box, by clicking on the picture icon displayed in the row listing for each fact that has media.
Addresses for peopleAddresses for people are stored in Family Historian as Residence facts – so these too are accessed in the Facts tab of the Property for the people in question. As address details for people do not appear with other facts in reports about people, in RootsMagic, when they are imported, Family Historian automatically sets the Private fact flag for these Residence facts; so that, by default, they will also not appear in reports in Family Historian. To learn more about fact flags, see the “Fact Flags” section of the Help for the Facts tab of the Property Box.
Shared Events (Witnesses)In RootsMagic a ‘Shared Event’ is any event which has one or more participants other than the principal or principals. These non-principal participants are called “people who share this fact” in RootsMagic 7. All such people are simply called witnesses in Family Historian (and also in RootsMagic 8 & 9). So, for example, the bridesmaids and best man at a marriage are witnesses in this sense, and the bride and groom are the principals. Every witness has a role, which must be specified; so, in the example, one role would be ‘bridesmaid’ and another would be ‘best man’. In some cases, as well as using the word ‘witness’ to simply mean ‘non-principal participant’, the word ‘witness’ may also be used as a role. For example, the ‘witness’ may be one role that a witness at a marriage can have. Do not confuse these two uses.

All details of witnesses (non-principal participants) for events, can be viewed and edited in Family Historian’s Witnesses Window. The Witnesses Window is a satellite window of the Property Box. Like many other windows in Family Historian, the Witnesses Window is a floating window. This means that you never need to close it. It will show the witnesses for whatever fact is currently selected in the Facts tab of the Property Box.

If a person has a role which is not already defined in Family Historian, a role definition will be created for that role in the relevant fact type.

You can customize sentences for witnesses in the Sentence field of the Witnesses Window, in much the same way that you can customize principal sentences in the Facts tab of the Property Box.
MediaIn both RootsMagic and Family Historian, media (pictures, video etc) can be associated with people, families, facts, sources, citations and places. The same media item can be linked to more than one person. In Family Historian you can also link each person to their face in each picture they appear in.

All media associated with a given person (or other record) can be viewed on the Media tab of the Property Box. All media can also be viewed in the Media Window.

Family Historian allows you to keep media files (or copies of media files) within your project, if you wish to – and this is normally recommended. When you import from RootsMagic, an option to copy media files into the Family Historian project is ticked by default.

If any media files are missing, the images of course will not display. To manage links to media files, click External File Links on the Tools menu to open the Work with External File Links Dialog. If you want Family Historian to automatically try to fix any ‘broken links’ (that is, find any missing files), click the Auto Repair Links button.
Sources and Source CitationsA full list of source citations linked to any item of data, can be viewed in the yellow Citation List Pane of the Property Box. Source citations can be attached not just to facts (in the Facts tab), but to many other items of data. When you click on a field in the Property Box, the Citation List pane will automatically update to show you the source citations for the item of data. It will also show citations for witnesses, and other details, when these are selected in satellite windows of the Property Box (e.g. the Witnesses Window or the Names & Titles Dialog).

Tip: The Citation List Pane can be configured to list citations using their footnote text, or using their Source record name, or in other ways. If you want the citation list to match the way that citations are normally displayed in RootsMagic, be sure to display citations in Citation List Pane using their Source record name. To do this, click on the Menu button (a ‘cog’ image) on the Citation List Pane toolbar (at the bottom), and choose Display Citation As… and then Source Record.

To view full details of a source citation, double-click on the citation in the list, or select it and click the Edit Source Citation button below the list (second from the left). The full details of the source citation will be displayed in the Citation Window. The Citation Window displays not just the citation-specific details, but it also allows you to view and edit the full Source record details. Be aware that if you make changes to the (clearly-labelled) Source record fields, these changes will affect all source citations which refer to that Source record. Changes made to the citation-specific fields however, will only affect the currently-selected citation.

Source records, like any other record type, can also be viewed and edited in the Property Box (on the View menu, click Other Record Lists and then Sources to view the full list of Source records in the Sources tab of the Records Window). However, it is more common to view Source record details in the Citation Window.

See also discussion of Source Templates, and Free-form sources below.
Repository RecordsSource records can be linked to one or more repositories. You can access the repository records from the Source record. By default there is a field for a single repository in the Citation Window, for generic Source records. If you need more fields (either for generic Source records or for templated Source records) you can customize the window to add them (see “Customize the Citation Window” in the Citation Window Help page). Alternatively, you always view and edit all fields stored in a record, without having to customize anything, on the ‘All’ tab of the Property Box, for the record in question. Fields can also be added on this tab.

To view a list of all Repository records, click on Other Record Lists on the View menu, and then choose Repositories.
NotesNotes in RootsMagic can have character styles, such as underline, bold or italic. These will be imported with the same style in Family Historian. RootsMagic allows you to specif that a part of note is private, and exclude it from reports, by placing it inside curly brackets – like this: {private note}. Family Historian has a similar feature, but uses doubled square brackets instead – like this: [[private note]]. The curly brackets will be converted on import.
Research Logs, To-Do Lists, and Correspondence Lists (RootsMagic 7); and Tasks and Folders (RootsMagic 8 & 9)In version 7 of RootsMagic, research logs, to-do lists, and correspondence lists, are separate items. In versions 8 & 9, they are all treated as different types of task. When imported into Family Historian, all of them become different types of Research Notes. Research Notes, for a given Individual, Family record, fact, or Place record, can be viewed in the Notes tab of the Property Box, for the record in question.

To view a complete list of Research Notes, click Research Notes on the View menu. Use the filter fields at the top of the window, to filter on a particular type of research note, or on their title or status.

In RootsMagic 8 & 9, tasks can be grouped in one or more folders (there are no ‘folders’ in this sense in version 7). These are imported as named lists in Family Historian. To distinguish these named lists from other named lists, their names are prefixed with “Folder: “. Named lists can be viewed by clicking Named Lists on the View menu, and then choosing a particular list. To view all named lists, open the Records Window, and then enable Named Lists Pane on the Lists menu (this menu is only visible when the Records Window is active).
GroupsRecords for people can be added to named groups, in RootsMagic. In Family Historian, these (like RootsMagic’s ‘folders’ in version 8 & 9) become named lists. See previous paragraph for instructions on viewing named lists.
Web TagsFamily Historian notes can contain web links (as well as other kinds of links). RootsMagic notes do not support web links. Links to web sites are stored separately as web tags. All web tags become web links, within notes, when imported into Family Historian. In some cases, extra notes are created for the web tags (these can be viewed in the Notes tab of the Property Box). In the case of citation web tags, these are inserted into a note attached to the citation. In the case of web links for Research Logs and tasks, the web tasks are appended to the Research Note text.
Source TemplatesBoth RootsMagic and Family Historian support source templates. Both also allow the contents of footnotes, short footnotes and bibliography entries, to be specified for any given source template, using special template codes (Family Historian also allows the Source record title to be automatically generated, using a similar mechanism).

You can see how footnotes, short footnotes and bibliographies will appear in reports, in the side panel of the Citation Window, when viewing a source citation. If you need to modify the formatting for any of these, you can do so by editing the Source Template record in the Property Box. See Source Template Formats to learn more.

Tip: The systems used by the two programs for handling formatting are very similar, but there are some differences. A template code that represents a field value (say “author”) is displayed in square brackets in RootsMagic (e.g. “[author]”) and in curly brackets in Family Historian (e.g. “{author}”). In both programs, you can use angle brackets to link a field value with a preposition or other text (e.g. “<by [author]>” in RootsMagic, or “<by {author}>” in Family Historian). In RootsMagic, angle brackets are used to add not just prepositions, but also spaces, commas, semi-colons, and other forms of punctuation. You can do this too in Family Historian but you usually don’t have to because Family Historian will try to intelligently determine when to use or discard spaces, separator text and punctuation. It does this using rules that are documented in the Help (see Source Template Formats). This means that you only need angle brackets if you have special requirements which these rules don’t satisfy. For this reason, Family Historian formats (the expressions that contain the codes) may be a little simpler.

To view a complete list of Source Template records in Family Historian, click Other Record Lists on the View menu, and then choose Source Templates.

When Source records are imported into Family Historian that are based on source templates, their equivalent Source Template records will be created within your Family Historian project, assigned to a collection called “RootsMagic Import”. Family Historian comes with two collections of its own source templates: the Essentials collection and the Advanced collection. The Advanced collection is based on the work of Elizabeth Shown Mills’ book, Evidence Explained. It contains 169 source templates. The Essentials collection, which was designed with the help of the Genealogy Program of the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, is much smaller and simpler, and contains only 17 source templates. You can also copy and modify source templates, or create your own from scratch. You can import source templates into your project, or even import entire collections of source templates. And you can mix and match source templates in any way that suits you.

Tip: For users who don’t have their own ideas and who are looking for guidance, our recommendation is to use the Essentials collection of source templates. For most people, this small collection is easy to use and may contain all the templates you will ever need. The easiest approach is to add them all into your project immediately (rather than installing them one at a time as-needed – although you can do that too if preferred). They can be added from the Source Template Definitions Dialog (click Source Template Definitions on the Tools menu). Filter on the ‘Essentials’ collection, select them all, and click the Add to Project button. You can use the Essentials template along side any other source templates you may already have, such as any there may be in the “RootsMagic Import” collection. That’s not a problem.

Note: Some users have asked why the RootsMagic source templates do not appear, after import, in the list of source template definitions. Source template definitions are external to projects. Before a source template can be used, it has to be instantiated within a project as a Source Template record. Creating a Source Template record from a source template definition is one easy and convenient way of doing that. Source template definitions are stored in files on your PC – not part of any project – and are used as a sort of blueprint for a Source Template record, so you can easily create the Source Template records within any project, from the definitions. If you already have a Source Template record within a project, you have no need of a source template definition. That said, it would be possible to write a plugin that would allow anyone to generate a source template definition file from a collection of Source Template records. This would be like creating blueprints by reverse-engineering from the finished product.

To learn more, see Getting Started with Source Templates.
Free-form SourcesWhen you add a source citation in RootsMagic, you can choose to either use a source template or enter the source citation free-form. When you add a source citation in Family Historian, you can choose to either use a source template, or use a generic Source record. It might seem then that a free-form source in RootsMagic is the equivalent of a generic Source record in Family Historian. In fact, they are not equivalents. A generic Source record is not free-form. Instead it uses standard fields, for sources of all types. To support RootsMagic’s free-form source citations (i.e. source citations that you just type yourself) a special Source Template record called “Free-form”, is automatically created when you import into Family Historian, and all free-form Source record details become Source records that use the Free-form Source Template.