RootsMagic 7 Source Citations

I previously said I wasn’t going to blog about RootsMagic 7 because it was a commonly used program. Today, I reached a frustration level that I haven’t reached for a very long time. The users group on Facebook was wonderful, but I never did get my answer. I am hoping that some experienced RootsMagic user will take pity on me and leave a comment or two for me here.

I have never used source citation templates. I’ve mentioned that before. I prefer to record citations in my research notes. With several options to replace Family Tree Maker, I felt it was only fair that I tried out the templates. After three hours yesterday, I was ready to throw RootsMagic and my computer out the window.

I think the users group was hampered by the fact that only one image can be added to one FB message. Since there is no such limitation here, perhaps my lack of understanding this process will be clear.

First step – I opened my family tree to Richard Belden. I have a two part article published in The American Genealogist in 2001. The articles are PDFs and are already linked to Richard Belden. Now I want to complete the source citation.

Second step – I went to LISTS and chose SOURCE LIST.

Third step – A new box opens and I chose ADD NEW SOURCE:


Fourth step – Another box opens prompting me to SELECT SOURCE TYPE. From the list, I chose JOURNAL ARTICLE, PRINT and clicked OK:


Fifth step – The next box prompts me to fill in the publication details:


Sixth step – Details are completed and I click OK. This is the part I don’t understand. A new prompt appears:


Seventh step – I have to name this file and it will appear in the Master Source File. Now, this file already has about 500 source prompts in it. I named this file “Journal, The American Genealogist, The English Ancestry of Richard Belden, Part 1” at the suggestion of one of the people in the online user group. I then clicked OK.

This is where I keep thinking something is not right. I actually entered Part 1 of this article, then added a new name for Part 2. There are a couple of other journal articles that I cited and linked to different ancestors.

The Master Source List now looks like this:


Notice there are now four new journal items in the list.

This process is easy enough to do, BUT I have thousands of different sources. If I am doing this correctly, I will end up with literally thousands of items in the Master Source List.

I haven’t even gotten as far as trying to figure out how to link a second ancestor to one of these journal articles.

Is this what I am supposed to be doing? If your Master Source List has thousands of entries that you have added to it, then I guess I am doing this the right way. If you are a RootsMagic veteran and can shed some light on this, I would be very appreciative.

6 thoughts on “RootsMagic 7 Source Citations”

  1. I use RootsMagic and yes, my Master Source List is LONG (just think of all the census records that you’ll create!). I have found that entering in the information once I have it can help with the headache. I also don’t use their templates – I use their free form one instead. I did this because when I first started using RootsMagic (it was RootsMagic 3 then), the source citations weren’t the same as Evidence Explained. I can also copy and paste the citation and change what needs to be changed for the one I’m looking at (this is handy when I’m putting in census information). This is just my way but it works for me. I have also used the same source for other people as well – if you have questions about that, let me know!

  2. I think your frustration hits on the “splitter vs. lumber” issue. Using a unique master source for each document versus using one master source for all alike documents. If you are a splitter, your Master Source list could easily get out of hand. A good example is a US Census. Some would suggest a unique master source for a single sheet showing a single household. A lumper might consider a single year series (ie. 1880 US Census) as one master source, then enter state, county, head of household, etc into the detail citation. I think a prudent way would be to use a combination of splitting and lumping depending on the type of source. The goal being to give the reader enough information to locate the source, and keeping your files manageable.
    Also, using the freeform template as NikiMarie suggests is a safe way to insure a complete GEDCOM transfer of your information should you want/need to do that in the future. The regular templates aside from being totally confusing (to me) are not 100% GEDCOM compatible.

  3. I’m a new genealogist and have been enthusiastically learning RM7. The RM webinar on source citations was very helpful to me and I highly recommend you listen to it (under Learning/webinars on the RM site).

    I think the thing you’re missing is that the Master Source is the part that doesn’t change. Then when you cite it, you can add details for that particular citation.

    For censuses, I have been making a Master Source for the year, type of census, and jurisdiction (city/county/state). Then when I cite that census for a particular person I add the ward, ED, etc., and the URL for the digital record (in the Detail Notes).

    Another example: New York Passenger Lists 1820-1957 is a Master Source. Individual ships/dates are specific citations.

    So I don’t end up with a Master Source for every single citation, just every general source.

    I am wording the Master Sources with the source type first: Census, 1910, U.S. Federal, Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne, Pennsylvania. That way all of the same kinds of sources end up in the list together.

    I guess I’m a lumper!

    I hope that makes sense!

  4. Dear Linda;
    From experience with RM7, I know that no matter what GEDCOM one produces, there always seems to be an issue with importing it to a different program or uploading it to a website. The “standard” is not actually employed in the same way by all programs. The use of Free-Form templates can do a little to help, but there are still many issues. Even. the key players in the market seem to be sidestepping the issue by going to API interfaces with websites such as Ancestry.

    If like The Master Genealogist, RootsMagic disappears, I suspect that the remaining players will likely offer an import path.

    I wonder if it’s really worth the trouble to go the “extreme splitter” route when one weighs the work of doing individual citations vs. the times one needs to transfer via GEDCOM.

    That said; I have to make a decision on whether to switch to “lumper” or remain a “splitter”. However; I’d like to hear your opinion first.

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