Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Adding a spouse in RootsMagic

During last week’s “share session” at my local genealogical society, I discovered that RootsMagic doesn’t always prompt you for a marriage date when adding a spouse. It all depends on how you add the spouse.

Coming from the world of FamilyTreeMaker, I find myself sometimes adding people from the Pedigree view in RootsMagic. Sometimes when I add a spouse from this way, I will not be prompted for the marriage date. Please note that it doesn’t always happen but it does sometimes when I add a spouse this way.

However, if I add a spouse from the “Family” view, I will be prompted for the marriage date.  I wasn’t sure if this was a design flaw or a design feature. I decided to look up spouse in my RootsMagic Manual and see what it says about adding a spouse.

The first way I found on how to add a spouse was through the “ADD” menu bar. Highlight the person you want and then select “Add > Spouse” command. This brings up the Add Spouse pop-up screen where I can add the person and some facts. When I click OK, this does bring up the Add Marriage pop-up screen where I can then add the marriage event. If I know a marriage has occurred but don’t know the date, I can still click “+ Add marriage event” and then leave the date and place blank.

Next it states I could highlight the person in Pedigree view, and then press the letter S on my keyboard and the Add Spouse pop-up screen appears.  This process appears to do exactly what the previous process does.

This completes all the ways that I found for adding spouse, via using the Index and looking up the keyword “spouse”.  However, I found that if you right click on the person you want, you can then select “Add > Spouse” and then actually add the spouse information. It doesn’t matter where the person’s name appears, whether on the Pedigree view or on the Family view.

However, if you add a spouse by clicking on the “+ click to add mother” or “+click to add father” in either the Pedigree view or in the upper half of the family view (small pedigree view), this doesn’t automatically add a spouse to the other existing person. You will need to add a marriage fact and then tie the mother and father together.

I have found myself just using the right click method of adding a spouse and I had no more problems. However, when I was deleting my test “spouses”, I found that it didn’t always clean up the file as I had expected.

If you delete a spouse where there are no children, I found that it removed all traces of the marriage, the spouse and the marriage date. See examples below.

However, if you delete a spouse where children exist, it will delete the spouse but keep the marriage date. See examples below.

Now I don’t know if I like how it handles the delete a spouse. Perhaps it should have asked if I wanted to delete the marriage fact too. Perhaps I added the spouse to the wrong John Smith, we all have those family names that keep occurring in our trees. It is real easy to select the wrong person and add a spouse and marriage information. 

I learned several important lessons. When learning a new program, perhaps refer to the manual and use the same steps (process) for doing simple tasks. It is nice that programs offer us multiple ways to input data, because we all think different, but once we figure out a way that seems to produce the results we like, keep to the same steps.

Second lesson I learned, to double check your work, especially after deleting a person. Check the person they were attached to and make sure all related facts are gone. I wonder how many marriage facts I thought were deleted and never were?