• Devon Noel Lee

Never Get Lost In Your Tree Again With RootsMagic Color-Coding

Do you have a large family tree? With RootsMagic 8, you can color-code your family tree to quickly see who is related to whom or track the status of your research.


Why Color Code Your Family Tree?


According to RootsMagic, "Color coding lets you assign colors to the names of people in your database, so they are easily distinguished from others in the database."


If you want to see who is living in your family tree quickly, you can use color to make those profiles stand out.


If you want to highlight everyone born in France, you can paint the profiles so that you can quickly see that fact.


The only challenge is deciding what color system you're going to implement.


How to Color Code Family Tree


You can add color to a profile from either the People tab or a person in the pedigree and family group sheet videos. In this video, I demonstrate the chart methods. In this blog post, you can see the People tab method.


The three options I use frequently include:

  • Ancestors of the current person

  • Descendants of the current person.

  • Include spouse (optional)

  • People selected from a list.

  • Living

  • Genetic ancestors (Y-DNA and mt-DNA)

  • By data field (birth, locations, any other field filters)


Family Tree Coloring Strategies


There are a variety of methods people use for coloring their family tree. Here are a few that I've discovered.

  • Ancestral Lines: This method is similar to Mary Hill's file folder coloring strategy.

  • Father's Father - Blue

  • Father's Mother - Green

  • Mother's Father - Red

  • M00other's Mother - Yellow

  • Or, they use light colors for maternal ancestors and dark colors for paternal kin.

  • Descendants - Color Code the descendants of specific common ancestors. This method shows you all the 'cousin matches' in your family tree. For example, you could utilize your surname table for DNA research with this method.

  • Surnames - Using the by data field and choosing Surname equals [insert your surname], you can color everyone with the same surname in the database regardless of whether they share a common ancestor

  • Research Status - Some researchers color people based on whether they are in the research process. Some include

  • Validated

  • Unproven

  • In progress

  • Brick Wall

  • Hypothesis

  • Relationship - Other researchers expand the Mary Hill strategy to color other relationships, including:

  • collateral lines (meaning related by marriage)

  • friends, associates, neighbors

  • unlinked family trees


Did I miss any strategies that you have considered or that you use?



READY TO LEARN MORE Grab your copies of these FREE Research Guides

Free genealogy research guides available here

Warning About Color Coding


At this time, RootsMagic 8 only allows you to give one color to each profile. So if you wanted to have the profile in the Geiszler surname project as a direct maternal ancestor but are living, you can't do that.


Be aware that the last color you apply to a group of individuals takes precedent. So if I first colored a profile as a maternal ancestor, then colored the person in the Geiszler surname group. The Geiszler surname group color will win.


Try It Today


Go paint with the colors of your family tree. It's fun and quick.


What's also great is that if you change your mind, you can reset your color to blank and start over without too much hassle.


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