rootsTrust: a Genealogy Program for Windows, Macintosh and Linux

rootsTrust (always spelled with lower-case “r”) is an advanced genealogy program that runs on all three popular desktop and laptop operating systems: Windows, Macintosh OS X and Linux. It is one of the few genealogy programs that can make that claim. Actually, the program’s web site at says, “rootsTrust has been successfully tested on Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. It runs in either 32-bit or 64-bit mode. It also works with any of the aforementioned operating systems on a Mac using the Parallels emulator.”

rootsTrust is also a rather powerful genealogy program.

Actually, the producing company, Atavus, describes rootsTrust as a genealogical data management system (GDMS), which is a computer program designed to manage relationships between people, and relationships between people and places as well as historical and administrative relationships between places and other places. A GDMS also allows users to import and export data, generate family tree charts and other textual reports, link document and multimedia image files as well as websites to the objects it manages: Persons, Families, Events, Places, Sources and Repositories (libraries, archives museums and private collections).

rootsTrust is written in Java and it includes a separate database that can be synched with a cloud-based file storage service in order to provide constant backups. It provides Unicode support meaning that you may enter names and locations that do not use the normal Roman alphabet.

rootsTrust also can be either installed on your computer’s hard drive or run from a flashdrive or other external disk drive, such as a plug-in USB disk drive. In fact, you can purchase the program already installed on a 32-gigabyte USB 3.0 flash drive. If you do use it on a flashdrive, you can:

  1. Take the flash drive with you to a library, archives or a friend’s house.
  2. Plug it into any Windows, Mac or Linux computer.
  3. Enter new data into your database.
  4. Return home and transfer the modified database to your hard drive.

rootsTrust will import GEDCOM files from other genealogy programs.

The rootsTrust program offers most of the features of other leading genealogy programs, including:

  • Person, Family, Ancestor, Descendant, Source, Repository, File Cabinet, Place and Venue views.
  • Aliases (possible alternate descriptions of the same person.)
  • Database fields for medical history, blood type, hair and eye color, height and DNA haplotypes.
  • All sorts of reports – Generate an ahnentafel, curriculum vitae, family group sheet, family tree chart, line of descent, narrative, bibliography and gazetteer. You also can convert search results into a report.
  • Cloud Support – Optionally store your database, document and multimedia files in the cloud. rootstrust autodetects several popular cloud services and allows you to add addional ones.
  • Many predefined custom Event types, including alternate name types, Event Roles, patronymic name types and search markers. You can add to these as you see fit. You can also customize the names of the hierarchical administrative units of Places by region, the defaults being Village, Parish, Township, County, State and Country.
  • A built-in editor allows you to enhance your text with color, underlining, boldface, italics, highlighting, numbered and bulleted lists, etc. This is particularly useful when exporting your data to and other websites that support GEDCOM files containing HTML.
  • rootsTrust provides a set of genealogy tools: relationship calculator, gravestone calculator, Soundex generator, Roman to Arabic numeral converter and eight date converters.
  • Support for Quaker, movable feast, French Republican, British Regnal, Hebrew, Islamic, Indian and Persian dates.
  • The ability to link to external document and multimedia files containing information about persons, families, events, sources, repositories and places.
  • Extended Keyboard: Select from 30 preprogrammed panels that support most of the world’s languages that use an alphabetic writing system. You can also create additional panels to support other languages.
  • Six search types allow you to search for Persons by name, search marker or biomedical criteria. You can also search for events by place of occurrence or source referenced. A text search is also provided.
  • An automated backup and restore built into the program.

To become more familiar with the program before you download and install it, you may watch a number of “how to” videos:

How to use File Cabinets:
How to get context sensitive help:
User interface controls and conventions:
Main Menu Bar:

I would strongly suggest you watch these videos before attempting to use the program.

Installation instructions for running rootsTrust on a Macintosh, Windows or Linux are provided at

You may try rootsTrust for 30 day free of charge. If you wish to continue using it after the trial period, you must purchase a license.

One of the drawbacks to rootsTrust is the price: $45 for a license if you download the program from the rootsTrust web site at or $80 if you purchase the program pre-installed on a flashdrive (see That makes rootsTrust one of the more expensive genealogy programs available today.

You can learn a lot more about rootsTrust at


This looks most interesting but very complex and for me, complicated. Wish it had been around when I started my projects many years ago. Have you tried it, Dick?


In the summer I purchased a new laptop running windows 8.1 and recently upgraded to windows 10. My problem is that some of my genealogy software ie DVDs of parish register transcripts and indexes won’t install on Windows 10 even though advertised as OK for windows 8. This is rather annoying but as one of my policies is redundancy and to replace before the old one packs up it is not too much of a problem at the moment.

I would be interested to know if this will run on Windows 10 and my advice to those family historians thinking about a switch from 7 to 10 which is being pushed so much by Microsoft is DON’T DO IT YET (if ever). I actually preferred 8.1 as at least it looked alien. 10 is like an alien bodysnatcher. No doubt I will get used to it. We usually do. (Resigned Sigh.)


I tried a beta version a year+ back. It seemed very slow then compared to TMG


So what do you use, Dick? I have not found anything that approaches The Master Genealogist in functionality. And Second Site knocks the competition out of the park.


    —> So what do you use, Dick?

    I have never found the perfect genealogy program. Because I often write about different genealogy software products, I am always trying something new. It is not unusual for me to be using 3 or 4 genealogy products simultaneously.

    For the past year or so, I have used as my primary genealogy database. (NOTE: MyHeritage is the sponsor of this newsletter.) I rather prefer having a cloud-based program that I can access with a Macintosh, Windows, Linux, Android, or iPhone/iPad device from wherever I am. Prior to, I was using The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding. See for details about that one. However, I may change again at any time.


Two very very powerful features are grabbing my attention, that very few other genealogy software have taken on (excluding Heredis).

1. Linking places. This is perfect for having several names for the same location, i.e., parish or town changes names or is amalgamated to another town. Each names is linked to the other and they all share the same notes.

2. Creating non-biological relationships. This is so handy for breaking down brick walls using the FAN system. It allows the user to create links that can be navigated between an ancestor and a neighbor, a witness at an event, a guardian, a sponsor, etc…

I think I will give it a quick spin.


Alexander Friedlander February 16, 2016 at 8:43 am

“It also works with any of the aforementioned operating systems on a Mac using the Parallels emulator.” If it requires Parallels, then it does NOT run natively on a Mac; you have to purchase Parallels and install Windows and then you can run it on Windows using a Mac–not the same thing as running it on the Mac OS.


I am very impressed. If it weren’t for RootsMagic and FTM at the present being the main gateways into the Ancestry databases that I have used for years, I would seriously take a look at this. The “look” and “feel” is closer to the accounting packages I used to use before I retired – very logical and clean looking. And, it is based on SQLite.


Is there any reason that the program can’t be downloaded to your own flashdrive?.


At 83 not techie enough to professionally comment but do have a question. Every once in awhile, more so currently, I receive notices of problems with Java EX: browsers will be discontinuing their support of Java as a plug in along with other problems? If this is a Java based program what is its potential for problems down the road? TY grtgrndmamoe


At last! A program for Linux users. I only continue to use Windows because more family history programs & utilities run on Windows. Everyone is making apps for teensy screens instead of understanding the need for dependable operating systems for laptops.


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