RootsMagic Groups

Do you ever want to see/print a list of people in your RootsMagic file from a certain location? If you use color coding, do you ever want to see a list of people with a specific color? If so, have you used the GROUPS feature in RootsMagic?

Over the past few years, I have created quite a few groups. Most recently, I have been creating groups based on color coding. For example, descendants of my earliest known Crawford (James Crawford of Preble County, Ohio) are color coded Forest green.

RootsMagic 9 introduced the ‘Saved Criteria’ type of group. With this type of group, I can create the group and then easily ‘REFRESH’ the group after I’ve done research that would add new people to the group.

For my groups based on color coding, I have assigned colors based on my 3rd great grandparent couples. Descendants of that couple are then color coded accordingly. (Descendants of my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents are coded based on the male line they descend from. Thus, I have to be careful when color coding descendants of 2nd, 3rd, 4th great grandparents so I don’t ‘overwrite’ the colors of the closer generations.)

I’ve used ‘extra’ colors to color code some of the ‘floating trees’ in my file. For example, I have assigned different colors for each of the ‘other’ James Crawford lines in my file and for the Alexander Crawford/Mary McPheeters line in my file.

Thus, my Color Forest (Crawford) group uses the color coding field to select those using my 4th set of codes called Ancestral Lines to search for those with the FOREST color applied.

Since I have used the ‘SAVED CRITERIA’ method of creating the group, I only have to click the REFRESH PEOPLE button to update the members of the group. This ability to refresh a group makes it easier to use these groups and to make sure the members reflect any newly added people.

As I’m in the process of updating my research of my 4th great grandparents, I’m wanting to use county histories to see if I can find biographies of a descendant that sheds more light on these 4th great grandparents. This process is easier because of the work of Linda Stufflebeam to create a list of the county histories for each state. While I know the surnames of my 4th great grandparents, I don’t know the surnames of all of the descendants of that couple. Nor, do I know which ones lived in a specific county. This is where RootsMagic’s group feature will prove valuable.

I’m currently researching my RALSTON family line. Since Ralston descendants and my HAMMOND line lived in Knox County, Illinois, I had previously created a group. Since this group was created in a previous version of RootsMagic, it used the Free-Form method of creation.

I just discovered that I can switch this group to a ‘Saved Criteria’ group (which allows me to quickly update it) by just clicking on Saved Criteria.

Making that switch does require me to SET CRITERIA. Clicking on the Set Criteria button allows me to select the field “Any Fact” and then indicate that I want the place field to contain Knox, Illinois.

Clicking OK searched my file for any place containing “Knox, Illinois” and found 158 people with such a place. Now as I add additional people in this county, I simply have to refresh this group to include those new additions.

Once the group is created, I can use it in several ways:

  • Ancestry Tree Share – Selecting the group (I use my color code groups a lot in TreeShare)
  • Print an ‘Individual List’ report using the group. While I tend to not ‘print’ reports, this is an interesting one in that it lists all of the people in my group, their facts, their spouse(s) and their children.
  • Change the ‘index’ of people from Everyone to my Knox County group. This gives me a scrollable list of everyone in the group.

This scrollable list provides the surnames that I can use to search the online county histories. My Knox County, IL group contains the obvious Hammond and Ralston surnames. A search for the Ralston surname in one of the county histories found a small detail about my ancestor James B Ralston.

Without the list of group members, I would not have realized that I needed to search for the COOLEY surname.

And that search turned up a short biography of Orrin V. Cooley, a descendant of Jason Hammond and Rachel Hale.

THANK YOU RootsMagic developers for the GROUPS feature and for the ability to easily update (refresh) such groups. Also, THANKS to Linda Stufflebeam for her work to create the list of county histories! Now I have a lot of work to do researching my RALSTON line across 4 states.

For more info about the color coding and groups features, check out these videos:

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  1. Pingback: Friday’s Family History Finds | Empty Branches on the Family Tree

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