To help you get a better idea of how software can help you organize your genealogy records and research, and to help you figure out what features to look for in particular software packages, examine how to use RootsMagic, a popular genealogy program.

You can download a free trial version of RootsMagic Essentials software and install it on your computer:

  1. Open your web browser and go to the RootsMagic site.

  2. Scroll down to the RootsMagic Essentials section and click the Free Download button.

  3. Complete the information fields, including typing your name and your e-mail address. Enter your e-mail address again in the Verify E-mail field.

  4. Select the check box if you want to receive e-mails from RootsMagic.

  5. Click Download.

    The instructions for downloading the product appear.

  6. Click the RootsMagic Essentials Installer link.

    The software downloads to a directory on your computer.

  7. To begin the installation, double-click the downloaded file.

    When we installed it, the filename was RM6Setup.exe. The Welcome to RootsMagic Setup wizard pops up.

  8. Click Next.

    The license agreement appears.

  9. Read through the licensing agreement. If you agree to its terms, click the I Accept the Agreement option and then click Next.

    In the window that appears, choose where to have the RootsMagic Essentials software stored on your computer.

  10. Identify where to store the software and then click Next.

    The Select Start Menu Folder field appears. This enables you to identify where to put shortcuts for the program. The default location is a folder called .

  11. If you want the shortcuts listed in, leave the default location in the field. If you prefer to have shortcuts in another folder, browse and select the folder or enter the location.

  12. Click Next.

    The Select Additional Tasks window opens. If you want to set up any additional tasks (such as creating a desktop icon for the program or downloading a place database for geocoding and gazetteer components), select the appropriate check box.

  13. Click Next.

    The final information for the installation appears.

  14. Review the installation information and, if everything looks correct, click Install.

    The software installs on your computer. When it's finished installing, the Completing the RootsMagic Setup Wizard box appears.

  15. If you want to open RootsMagic now, select the Launch RootsMagic check box and click the Finish button.

    A window opens welcoming you to the software and asking you to identify which version of the product you're opening.

  16. Click the RootsMagic Essentials — Free Version link.