April 4, 2012

Roots Magic Genealogy Software

Update Apr. 9, 1912

RM has released Version 5.0.3.1 (Apr. 6, 2012).  I have to say, after my comments below about "enhancements requests," the authors were quick to improve the Gallery problem.

Users can now select whether or not to build thumbnails when opening the Media Gallery when they open RM for a session.  Checking the selection (under Program Options) means each time the Media Gallery is opened, the user has to wait for the thumbs to be regenerated.  I have selected to not build thumbnails each time and, that choice seems to has improved the speed in which I am able to access the Media Gallery. I don't really know when it builds but, it apparently builds when RM opens.

For example, if I add an image of a 1940 census page to a family or individual for the first time, I would load it into RM directly from whichever folder I chose to store it in on my hard drive when I downloaded it.  Without being familiar with the inside workings of how RM handles images, I have to conclude that it also makes a thumbnail image for the Gallery at the same time.  I suspect this from the fact that the image appears in the Gallery should I, in the same working session, need to later add that same image to other families or individuals who appear on that page.

So far, no apparent downside to the change!

Update Apr. 6, 2012

RM has finally responded. In part, the reply says they have placed an "...enhancement request in our tracking system to stop regenerating the thumbnails in the Media Gallery unless you have added something new in there."

"Enhancement requests" are being added all the time at RM. It doesn't necessarily mean they are actively working on the problem. I see it more of what we might call a "to do list;" something to consider when the easy stuff has been done.

I don't see making the program less annoying and time wasting as an "enhancement" but, hopefully whatever they do will be an improvement.


I have been a faithful user of this software since it first hit the market. I've gone through several versions, the latest being version 5.

It is excellent for beginners and "old pros" alike.

One feature called the "Media Gallery" is very useful.

But, I do have a problem with it.

When I add a new media item to an individual or to a family, it is stored in the Media Gallery. I like the feature because it allows me to attach one document, photo, etc. to any number of people without maintaining multiple copies for each person, couple or family.

For example, marriage records were often maintained in large books. In checking these books I often fine more than one couple of interest on the same page. I can attach a copy of the page to the first couple of interest then, using the Media Gallery, attach it to each of the other couples on the page. This effectively uses only one image but attached to several couples.

The problem that I have, and one that no one at Roots Magic can explain to my satisfaction is, why each time I go to attach that item to another couple, Roots Magic has to again regenerate all of the thumbnails. With a large media file literally containing a few thousand birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, headstone photos, individual and family photos, and the like, it takes awhile for all of the thumbnails to be regenerated.

Now, I don't pretend to know anything about programming. However, it seems to me that something could be done to accomplish the same thing without wasting time regenerating the thumbs!

Maybe generate them once at the beginning of a session and close it when Roots Magic is closed. I don't know, but it's getting awfully tiring because I cannot get a cogent reply from anyone at Roots Magic that would hopefully satisfy my need for a response and to know that the problem is being addressed!

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