Busy. That seems to be the answer I have when anyone asks how I have been. Busy, Busy, Busy. My family seems to always be on the go with one project or another, work, or just everyday life. There always seems to be somewhere to go, or something to do.
The kids have school, there’s doctors’ appointments, sports, work, grocery shopping, you name it. We live in a busy world and to make the most of our time, sometimes we need to be able to take our work or hobbies with us wherever we go.
Trying to manage my time often means working in the car while waiting to pick up the kids from school or as a passenger in the car on a trip just to get everything done. But how do you make genealogy portable?
It’s a lot easier than you would think. In this digital age of laptops, smartphones, and tablets, there is great software and apps to help keep you in the game.
Free genealogy mobile apps
For a very long time after getting my first smart phone, I was a bit scared of it. I only used it as a phone and had no clue what exactly it could do. My kids had to set up my email and show me what apps might benefit me. Over time and once I decided it would not bite me, I realized just how much I could do with this phone.
Family Search Tree
Family Search Tree (available for IOS and Android) was the first app I downloaded on my iPhone. The app is free, though you do have to sign up for a free Family Search account and start building your family tree.
Once your account is all set up and you have signed into the app, you will be taken to a view of your family tree. From there, you can click on individual people in your tree to see their details and any media you may have attached to them. Tabs on the individuals profile easily allows you to view their spouses, parents, sources, and memories. There is even a handy add button in the bottom corner for adding new information.
Want to find more information on your ancestor? You can perform a search straight from the family tree page by clicking the magnifying glass in top corner. From there you will be taken to a list of search results.
It really is an easy, user friendly app that gives you all of your Family Search information at your fingertips.
Ancestry (available for IOS and Android) was the next app I downloaded. Though you need a paid subscription to view a lot of the records on Ancestry, the free version still allows you to keep an online tree and attach files and information to the individuals in it.
Just like Family Search Tree, in tree view you can click on various individuals to access their information, but instead of taking you straight to that information, you are given the options to view the profile, view their tree, add a relative or edit the person’s details. If you click view profile, you will be taken to that person’s profile where you can see their life story, sources, family pedigree, gallery, and any notes you may have on them.
Tabs on the bottom of the screen will take you to your hints, trees, DNA, or your account.
Though Ancestry’s app is not as simple of a format as the Family Search app, Ancestry gives you a lot of options for how you can view your information. Just remember, without a paid subscription, you will not be able to view any of the record images in your hints.
Find A Grave
Find A Grave (available for IOS and Android) is a favorite of mine. Find A Grave is a virtual cemetery website that allows you to search for graves or contribute by uploading images of headstones and creating memorials. I often find myself in cemeteries, have forgotten my camera and my phone is the only thing I have. The Find A Grave app allows you to upload photos and create memorials right in the app. No more uploading 100 headstone photos and then having to transcribe each one once I get home, I can now do it on my phone while I am at the cemetery.
You can read more about Family Search and Find A Grave in my previous post- Are there any good free genealogy websites?
Genealogy on your iPad
Several years ago, I decided I needed to purchase a tablet to use for work. Like purchasing my phone, I felt a bit out of my element.
After a lot of research, some finance anxiety, and finding my wallet a whole lot lighter, I was the happy owner of an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil. I knew I could use it for drawing and design, checking emails, and looking at my calendar, but considering how much money I had just spent, just what else could it do?
As my family tree research started creeping into my daily life more and more, I needed a way to keep it easily accessible, organized and portable. Dragging my laptop with me everywhere was often out of the question, but my iPad seemed to always be next to me. By this time, I was already using my iPad to organize my daily life, why not my genealogy?
I already had Family Search Tree, Ancestry, and Find A Grave downloaded to my phone, then I realized why not add it to my iPad? The bigger screen on the iPad would be a big advantage compared to using the apps on my small phone screen and the iPad was still portable.
The uses of an iPad for genealogy are only limited by our imagination. I now use it to search for information, organize records, edit photos, record documents, and creating task lists to know what to do next. I even use it to watch genealogy webinars and videos to stay in the loop. The possibilities are endless.
Genealogy apps for android tablets
As you can probably tell from this article, I am an Apple girl. My sons and husband use android devices. Everyone has their preferences and can like whatever they like and use whatever is easier for them.
I have done some research, and though I have never used them on an android device, all of the above apps are available for android and it is my understanding that they work just as well.
Whatever device you use, just remember to enjoy the journey.
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