TMG Refugee

2016-01-19_0-50-33Refugee status

I have been using The Master Genealogist (TMG) for years now. It’s flexible, allows infinite tweaking of charts, and I can import sources and fact types directly into a new project for each new client. I was so impressed that I started the TMG Sydney User Group in 2004. But a year or so ago TMG was discontinued and I started looking around for a replacement, with the goal that I would use TMG for as long as I could but would be using something new in a year’s time. I figured that sooner or later – a new version of Windows or lack of drivers or something – TMG would no longer work properly and I’d be stuck with all my client projects, not to mention my own family tree.

I did some looking around and from a shortlist of three programs – LegacyRootsMagic, and Family Historian, all of which I owned – I decided on Family Historian. Family tree software is an individual thing and what works for some doesn’t work for others; just look at TMG! I started a new client project from scratch, a tree that even now only has a dozen or so people in it. Last week when I was trying to add new facts I started getting frustrated and decided to import it back into TMG so I could get on with my work. Family Historian uses a GED file and so I thought I could import that file directly into TMG, but TMG didn’t like it, telling me there was no header record.

I wondered whether it was a TMG problem, and imported it into RootsMagic, without any problems, and so I went on with it in RootsMagic. And I’ve changed my mind and made a momentous decision.

I’m going with RootsMagic.

Why RootsMagic?

  • Interface Working with a family tree program is an individual thing, where the interface and navigation comes down to personal preference. Once I started using the program for real I liked it better. It seems closer to TMG, which I liked because I could see everything on the screen at once and I could move it around to suit myself.
  • Charts It uses the same software as TMG does, or at least it looks the same to me. I can select the chart that best suits my needs and then once it’s open in the charting program I can move things around to fit on a page, or join two trees together, or whatever I want. This is important to me, and is almost a reason in itself to choose RootsMagic.
  • Sources I can create templates to suit my own standards, and I can then export them and reuse them in future projects. This gets me up and running quickly on a new client, and was such a help to me when it was introduced into TMG a couple of versions ago that I was dreading being without it.
  • Android App – there is an Android app (and a iPhone one as well) that uses Dropbox to sync the tree to my many Android devices. It’s read-only, which is all I want, and I can update it directly from the file menu within the program.

The more I use it the more I like it. I’m sure I’ll have more to say when I’ve used it a lot more.

It’s a momentous decision for me because I spend a large part of nearly every day in my family tree software, working on clients’ trees. I have at least a dozen running at any one time, often more.

RootsMagic allows you to import a TMG file directly, and I have yet to do this successfully because I have to set up my source templates. There are instructions on the website to do this, and there is a helpful forum and Facebook group. I’ve ordered my Getting the most out of RootsMagic book, and it’s been a long time since I’ve ordered a printed book to help me learn something new. I think you can still buy the program at the upgrade price if you are a TMG refugee, and to be honest it’s worth the money even if you only use it for the charts. I already had the previous version so I upgraded to V7.

This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship!

Late Edit Just for the record, I also tried to bring the GED file from Family Historian into Legacy. The import process goes into a loop and never finishes. I like Legacy but the interface doesn’t do it for me, a very subjective thing, nor the charts.

6 comments on “TMG Refugee

  1. Shelley Crawford 19 January 2016 8:11 am

    It’s a big decision, isn’t it? There will always be old TMG features you miss, hopefully compensated for by new RootsMagic features you won’t know how you did without. Good luck settling in to your new home!

  2. Carole 19 January 2016 11:08 am

    Thanks Shelley! So far I’m finding more features that I didn’t have before than missing ones, so it’s all good!

  3. Sharon 19 January 2016 8:09 pm

    I am still clinging desperately to TMG, I previously used FamilyHistorian but found it a little inflexible. I’ve now brought RootsMagic and find it a little more to my liking with it’s ability to colour code but I really am so very attached to TMG. I spent so long tweaking it to perfection.

  4. Carole 19 January 2016 11:25 pm

    I haven’t found the colour-coding yet but I’m so pleased to know it’s there!

  5. Rosemary 20 January 2016 12:52 pm

    Thanks for the review Carole. I will eventually have to find something to replace Family Tree Maker, although probably not until 2017. I’d decided on Family Historian or RootsMagic so your comments were very welcome. RootsMagic is also making a real effort to handle some of the GEDCOM idiosyncrasies that FTM creates making it more and more of a contender. Hopefully by the end of the year the import process into RootsMagic or even Family Historian will be less fluid.

  6. Carole 20 January 2016 2:19 pm

    Hi Rosemary. The move is not urgent for me yet either, but I don’t want to be in a panic transferring dozens of projects when it does become urgent. That’s why I’m starting small now, to get a feel for the new program and can work out at my leisure (!) how to make the transition. Have a play with the free versions before you need to jump right in!

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