Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Genealogy on the Go? There's An App for That

As part of my preparations for the Georgia Family History Expo later this week, I wanted a way to take my genealogy files with me without having to carry a bunch of stuff. I had originally planned to get a tablet or laptop, but unfortunately wasn't able to in time. So I went with my second option, our iPod Touch.

After doing a little research into the options available, I decided on the Ancestry.com app. It's free and also works on the iPhone and iPad. I've been playing with it for a couple days now and I like it. Downloading my tree was quick. It took less than a minute.

To scroll through my tree, I just swipe my finger across the screen. If I swipe across the top from left to right, it expands my paternal line. Swiping the bottom left to right expands my maternal line. To see the children of a particular family, I just swipe from right to left.

If I want to see what I have on an individual, I tap on their name to open their page and their timeline. At the bottom of the screen, thee are four options: info, family, photos and evidence. Info returns you to the individual's page. Family shows parents, spouse(s), children and siblings. You can click on their names to go to their page.

Photos clearly allows you to view any photographs you have uploaded to the tree. Evidence lists all your sources. If you click on a source, it takes you to a page that has information on the source and gives you the option to view the record. It's extremely tiny on the iPod Touch screen, but you can use your fingers in a stretching swipe to make the image bigger.

If you want to switch to a different tree, click on the tree's name at the top of the screen and it will pull up a list of all your trees. Just click on the one you want to go to it. You also have the option to start a new tree.

It does appear that you can make minor edits to individuals, add people and search Ancestry from the app. While I haven't tried it, I assume it syncs with your online Ancestry account once you have a live internet connection. Due to the small screen size, I probably won't test this theory. My main reason for wanting the app is so I have the ability to pull up my tree and look for a particular individual if I run into a connection to the family while I'm away from home.

Since one of my concerns was having my tree on hand even without an internet connection, I tested it out yesterday afternoon while sitting in car line. You can view trees that you have downloaded to the app. You can also view the attached sources and images. However, you need a live internet connection to view any other trees you may have.

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