Genealogy – How To Document People in RootsMagic Software

This is a run through for how to document one new person and one fact about them in the free version of the genealogy software RootsMagic.

Short Version (without citing any sources)

If you want to just start building your family tree without worrying about documentation, getting started is very easy.

A.) Open RootsMagic,

B.) choose to open a new file,

C) choose a file name and place to save it,

D.) an empty family tree will appear, looking like the picture above,

E.) Double click where it says to “Add Person”, a window appears where you can type in any info about the person

F.) Now just click “OK”, a new window will appear asking you to source your information but you can ignore it and just click Cancel on the bottom right corner.

And then you are done! you have added a new person onto your family tree!

The process is basically three parts, A.) open a new file, B.) create a source C.) label one person on a family tree.

Longer Version (with how to cite your information)

In this example we have a named person, and we have one fact about them that we want to include on our family tree and cite where we obtained the information.

The person is a random “John Smith”, who’s date of death is documented in (see below).

(The basic search function for
(the record for a random person named John Smith)

How-To Process

So in order to document this information in RootsMagic, take the following steps.

1 – Open opening the software click on “new file”, then “Empty File”, and then “Documents”

2 – you will be prompted to choose a place to save the new file and what to name it. I default to choose the location as Documents and choose a random name.

3 – You will then be prompted with the following options. You can ignore and just hit OK, but to check LDS support and Family Tree Support (but that is for reasons that will be addressed in a separate post).

4 – Now you will be presented with an empty family tree and the spot for one unidentified person highlighted.

5 – In order to document a fact, then we first want to create a source for the fact. On the left side click on “Sources”

6 – You are brought to the page seen below. At this point, click on the plus sign on the top bar.

SIDE NOTE: Do not be confused by the “Edit Source” section on the right, especially since it says free form under source type. This gives the false impression that you can type sourcing information in there. But that section is only for editing an existing source. If you type anything in there it will not be saved because there are no sources yet that you could edit. So do NOT touch the section on the right, just click the plus sign on the top bar.

7 – Clicking the plus sign will bring up a menu of different source types as seen below. But for this post, we will just use Free Form for the sake of simplicity. So click on “Free Form”, make sure it is highlighted, and then click “Next” on the bottom right.

7 – A window pops up with different sections for inputing information about the source.

8 – Now input the relevant information into the source file. In this case we are just documenting the existence of a gravesite based on a webpage from

At the very least, you should input 3 pieces of information.

  • a title (for example, “FindAGrave record for John Smith”)
  • information that you want recorded (for example, “John Smith”, “died in 1788”)
  • some kind of sourcing for the record, in this case i just pasted the url for the webpage listing the information

The final result looks like below. Then hit “ok”

9 – This returns you to the Sourcing page and now you see that a source has been added to the list.

10 – On the left side, click on “People” and you are brought to a page with a blank family tree and a spot for one unidentified person. Click where it says “+ a person”

11- A popup window appears where you can input information about the person.

12 – Input the name and date of death as seen below and then hit “OK”

13 – A new window appears where we can provide the source for the information that we provided.

14 – Next to each fact about the person, there are 5 boxes on the right that have pictures above them. In the line on top where it lists the name as John Smith, we click on the box to the right that is under the picture of a pen. (note that the same fact is at the bottom of the screen, but this is just redundant, feel free to ignore)

15 – After clicking on the box under the pen, the heading on the right side of the screen will change from “Person”, to “Sources”. Under the heading “Sources”, click where it says “+ Add source citation”.

16 – This brings you to a new screen where all of your sources are listed and you are supposed to choose the source that supports the fact (in this case the person’s name) that you have chosen. However, in this example you only have one source so it is automatically chosen and highlighted.

Now you click “Next” on the bottom right corner, followed by “OK”, then “OK”.

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