When Will RootsMagic 8 Be Available?

When will RootsMagic 8 be available? You may get irritated responses if you pose this question in several genealogy forums. I spotted one old hand complaining that the question had popped up three times in 45 minutes.

I purchased RootsMagic 7 in 2020. The company included a free license key for RootsMagic 8 with this appealing statement: “RootsMagic 8 will be released in the near future.” The problem is that they’ve been saying similar since November 2018.

How near is “the near future”? I put on my hard hat and ventured forth to find out.

What Is the Latest Version of RootsMagic?

RootsMagic 7 is the current version of family tree software from RootsMagic, Inc. The Utah-based company has been working since 2018 on a major upgrade to version 8.

RootsMagic 7 was released in 2014, but there have been minor upgrades since then. The most notable added feature for me was the ability to sync with Ancestry.com. The “TreeShare” feature was part of the 7.5 rollout.

When Will RootsMagic 8 Be Released?

Nobody outside RootsMagic, inc knows when RootsMagic 8 will be released. And it’s quite possible that nobody inside the company knows either.

I worked as a senior tech on a massive software project that over-ran the initial release date by two years. We finally got a stripped-down version 1 out the door, but it was a stressful experience for all involved. Stressful for those of us developing the system, and for customers waiting (somewhat impatiently) for what they’d been promised.

So I experienced some deja-vu when I went trawling for statements about when RootsMagic 8 will be released.

The latest position from the CEO, Bruce Buzbee, is that they will not be giving any release dates for RootsMagic 8. The company has overshot previous projections, so the current motto is: stop asking cos we’re not saying.

Missed Release Dates

The first big announcements about the upcoming Version 8 were at RootsTech in 2018. I’m not sure if a release date was stated at the conference. But I do know that the company was saying in late 2018 that RootsMagic 8 would arrive the following year.

The company promoted a special offer for Thanksgiving 2018 that buyers of RootsMagic 7 would get a free upgrade to RootsMagic 8 “when it is released in 2019”.

The management must have been pretty confident to project completion within thirteen months, but that turned into an unlucky 13. We are so far past 2019 that there are a fair few customers expressing dissatisfaction.

Current Offer: Buy RootsMagic 7 And Lock In The Price of 8

So, what’s the current state of play? The official line is that a purchase of RootsMagic 7 comes with a free upgrade to RootsMagic 8…when it is released. No projected date is given.

However, the company has said the retail price of RootsMagic 8 will be higher than 7. So if you buy now, you are locking in a lower price of the newer and better version.

If the new release was just around the corner, then that’s an attractive proposition. However, I wouldn’t factor it in as part of your decision-making at this point.

RootsMagic 8 Is Real And In Beta

The company periodically shows screenshots and demos of the new screens, and they look pretty good.

But I’ve seen a few comments out there on the interweb about vaporware. And yes, it’s very easy to mock up a software demo – as long as nobody else but the development team is clicking the buttons! I may or may not be speaking from experience.

Thankfully, RootsMagic 8 went into beta testing in 2020. A team of volunteers has access to test the new software. So, this means progress is beyond in-house testing and is the stage prior to release.

Beta testers sign confidentiality agreements, and are not even allowed to say that they are part of the beta program! RootsMagic runs a tight ship, as rumors don’t seem to be trickling out.

I think it’s fair to assume that the testers have uncovered various snags along the way because the beta testing has been ongoing for some time.

Why Is RootsMagic 8 Delayed?

A RootsMagic insider on their forum provides an odd reason for the delay: the company was spending too much time telling us about the software. The argument was that every blog post or video about RootsMagic 8 took time away from development.

I mentioned my experience of a troubled software release. Aside from six international teams of developers, we had a few people whose sole job was to do that kind of PR stuff.

So, I thought at first that the insider was joking. But then I took a closer look at the company behind the software.

RootsMagic Is A Small Development Company

The LinkedIn profile of RootsMagic, Inc puts them in the category of 2-10 employees. I notice that there are six LinkedIn members whose current employment status mentions the company. And that includes the founder. If you’re interested, we have an article on who owns RootsMagic and how the sofware came about.

That helps me understand the delays a bit more. Although I’m not buying the story that making videos brings a year delay to a project. A good intern could surely do the job.

But I do understand that a small team is more impacted by changes outside their control. Which brings me to third-party integration.

RootsMagic and Third-Party Integration

The RootsMagic software has integration points with the Ancestry and FamilySearch genealogy websites. There have been at least two minor releases to version 7 to accommodate changes in the partner system.

The two giant companies should give plenty of advance notice of changes – but that doesn’t account for bugs and under-estimates on their side of the data exchange program.

Unexpected changes would divert RootsMagic developers back to the “old” version to keep it working. And then the new code base also requires modification. A large company would split the effort between different teams and still find that the new project is extended by months. So, if there’s only one team? Goodbye 2020, hello 2021.

RootsMagic and The Mac

It’s fair to say that the marriage of RootsMagic and the Mac hasn’t been perfect. A few RootsMagic 7 features aren’t available on the Mac, and various changes to the Mac operating system (OS) have caused issues.

The current RootsMagic version is built only for Windows and needs third-party software to let it run on a Mac. That led to a period of time in 2019 when Apple updated their OS, and RootsMagic Inc had to wait for the third party emulator to catch up.

Mac customers had two choices during those months: delay upgrading their OS, or not have access to a working copy of RootsMagic. Of course, they had a third choice: switch to genealogy software that would work on their favorite computer. That would be an unfortunate outcome for RootsMagic inc.

A key feature promised for RootsMagic 8 is that it runs natively on the Mac. This has the great advantage of removing the dependency on another company. But it certainly increases the complexity of the new software project.

I won’t be surprised to see RootsMagic 8 appear for Windows first, with the Mac version following later.

Conclusion – When Will RootsMagic 8 Be Released?

I asked the question, and I haven’t given an answer yet. Of course, I don’t know.

My best guess is that we won’t see it this side of 2020, but that it will drop in 2021.

Other Articles and Tutorials?

RootsMagic Essentials is the free version of RootsMagic 7. I first tried it out because I wanted to see how good it was at backing up my Ancestry tree. I did extensive testing and was pleased with the results.

You can read the full article on backing up your Ancestry tree with RootsMagic Essentials. I was particularly impressed in how it downloaded all the images and media that are left behind when exporting a GEDCOM file.

Margaret created a family tree on a genealogy website in 2012. She purchased her first DNA kit in 2017. She created this website to share insights and how-to guides on DNA, genealogy, and family research.

22 thoughts on “When Will RootsMagic 8 Be Available?”

  1. Just got a new mac with Big Sur and can NOT get Rootsmagic7 to open up after numerous install attempts. Did EVERYTHING that is is youtube video.

    Does ANYONE else have this problem?

  2. Well the pre release version is now in “community preview” with mixed opinions. I have been doing back research on this and it seems those who only scratch at the surface of a genealogy program appear happy whilst those more serious have real concerns and are experiencing problems. The company stated on their blog this was out for some “spit and polish” but yet many version 7 features are missing and mapping does not have any association with places. In my opinion there is still quite a road to travel before an acceptable polished program is ready for market.

    • Yes “if ever” it is “Spit and polished to some degree” and released on a leash, where will they get the numbers willing to get out the plastic card with confidence and purchase the product.
      Where is the carrot to win over anyone at present, with all the bugs and RM 7 features missing and wish list ideas not included?
      With Bruce as the leader, where is leadership to all this when he is not coming to the front with any explanations or discussion, leaving it to the useless waste of time face book rubbish for the new followers. No serious genealogy travelers will get involved on FB that is if they let you on, as the moment you step out of line you are sent to the naughty corner or banned, end of story.
      Should the conversion price be too high, the incentive to purchase is missing. But on the other hand, if sales are not achieved, the company could sink and where would the fixes and backup come from then.
      This in my opinion would have to be the worst marketing exercise ever, with the possible end result being lack of funds to cover the costs of the exercise!

        • Should you consider that harsh, do not waste your time on a not real forum like Face Book where you have to be a member to join if you are let and there is no reference back to questions consistently asked by new users. Go and check out the number of people who downloaded RM 8 to look at with the number of people on FB, and you will get a surprise as a lot have not even downloaded the program
          Then when you put your two cents in to help fix the many bugs and they do not like it your gone.
          This Company has promised users the update now for years and even taken membership with the offer to be able to get the update for free, and these people are sorry for outlaying the money when they were promise it would be finished 2019.
          Why not join the real forum to discuss Roots Magic where the truth is discussed by 20 year long term users of the product. That forum is not owned by RM, it is owned by serious users of the product wanting a very useful fair dinkum program. Not a glamor ridden program to attract new users to genealogy. That forum assists members who own and use RM7 and all previous programs for years, not something just started recently. Enjoy your Genealogy research.
          If you want facts not frills here is the link


          • Nice article, I have used both and would take RM7 anytime for me RM8 is not all it’s crack up to be. Having said that do enjoy the new learning curve RM8 demands. Good luck to RM with their new project I feel they are going to need it

  3. I bought Roots Magic 7 because they said I would get 8 when it came out soon. I’ve been waiting quite a while now for 8. I really hope it comes in the first half of 2021.

  4. I’m another disenchanted user of RootsMagic 7. As a Mac user, I moved to RootsMagic from Reunion because of the fact that Reunion was charging too much (in my opinion) for their updates and RootsMagic prices were appealing. After moving, I frankly did not like RootsMagic 7, finding it more cumbersome to use than what I was used to with Reunion. However, the report of better things to come in the near future with the free upgrade to RootsMagic 8 kept me here. And so I waited…and waited…and waited for the upgrade. The refusals to give an updated estimate of release date only deepened my suspicions that maybe it never would come. Hey, it’s a competitive world out there, and if RootsMagic can’t hire enough technicians to do the job within reasonable time frames, maybe they should get out of the race. I for one am seriously considering biting the financial bullet and going back to Reunion.

    • Ok, I finally gave up. I did download the beta issue of RootsMagic 8, didn’t really like it, and decided the long wait for an update just wasn’t worth it. So, I’ve finally left RootsMagic and gone back to Reunion. And after doing so, I find that it is worth the additional price. Reunion’s format is so much better than RootsMagic (even version 8) that I’m willing to pay the extra price. Incidentally, RootsMagic has just 6 employees; yes, that’s right (per the internet), just 6! I admire frugality, but as I mentioned above, it is a competitive world. Hiring more employees is sometimes necessary.

  5. DO NOT BUY OR DOWNLOAD ROOTSMAGIC V8. It is a piece of **** [edited by site administrator]. Stick with V7. The presentation and navigation sucks!

  6. I have to agree with Dempsey Copass. I’ve been working on this program for an hour just trying to add a spouse and all I have accomplished is to make myself frustrated. The interface is not intuitive and I googled for a manual but that seems to mia too.


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