September 3, 2014

Ancestry App Launches With “Solid New Features”

iPad_Landscape_ss2Ancestry.com just relaunched the Ancestry App (version 6.0) for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices.

“This isn’t just a re-launch on a new system,” explained the Ancestry Mobile Team in a recent email. “We’ve worked hard to add some solid new features that we think you’ll enjoy.”

It was only about 6 weeks ago that we reported the last updates to the Ancestry app, but these are worth a separate mention. Here they are as described by the folks at Ancestry.com:

Prioritized Hints View

We’ve added a new section to the application which allows you to view all the hints for a given tree from a single place. We’ve added a prioritized sort order to the hints in this section so that your very best hints automatically bubble up into view. In addition to a priority sort, we’ve made it possible to view hints based on recency, with the newest hints at the top of the list. Near the top of the new hints view you will find sort order controls titled “best” and “latest” which allow you to toggle between these two sort orders to meet your needs. We’ve also included some filtering capabilities for the hints in this section which will allow you to filter hints by the last name of the person the hint is for, or to filter hints by type (photo, story or record). When you see a hint that you’d like to learn more about, simply tap; the details of the hint will come into view and you will be able to accept or ignore the hint from right there.

Comments

Every day thousands of photos and stories are added to Ancestry by users of the website and the Ancestry App. When one of these pieces of great content might be associated with a  relative of yours you will get a photo or story hint and you get to share this content and benefit from the work of other Ancestry users. Now you will have the ability to comment on these shared pieces of content directly from the mobile app – just like you can on the website. When viewing a photo or story you will notice a new comment area within the mobile app, here you will see comments from others and be able to leave comments of your own.

Comments View

The new comments section provides a running history of the new comments that have been left on photos and stories I your tree,  making it easy for you to keep up to date on the latest comments. When you see a comment that you would like to see in full context or respond to, silly tap; you will be taken to the photo or story that the comment was made on and be able to review the entire comment thread associated with the content.

Badges

You may notice a new red badge with a number in it that shows up on the Ancestry app icon. This lets you know that you have new hints or comments to review. We have also included badges on the icons representing the hint and comment sections which allow you to know exactly where the new content can be found.

Notifications

If you have enabled the Ancestry App to send you push notifications you will now be notified when the very best new hints or comments are available. When you are ready to view the new hint or comment, simply tap; the app will open and you will be taken dirtily to the hint or comment.

Tree Viewer Enhancements

In addition to family and pedigree views, you can now view your family tree in a list view. From this view you can filter the list of tree persons by name or using a number of useful filters (Direct Ancestors, End of Line, Living Relatives, People with Hints, and People with Recent Hints). We’ve also added a dedicated person search within the pedigree and family views. Tapping on the search icon In the top left corner of the tree viewer will allow you to enter the name of the person you are looking for. When you see the person you are looking for, simply tap; the tree will be refocused on this person and you will be taken directly to his or her profile details.

Navigation

We’ve simplified and updated the navigation within app. You will notice prominent tabs along the bottom of the app for Hints, Comments, Tree, DNA, and Settings. Getting around the app will now be quicker and easier than ever.

In addition to the major updates highlighted above we have worked on smaller touches within the app that enhance the overall experience. As you use the app in more depth you will likely notice other changes like: quick links to web content, side-by-side comparisons between tree and record data, quick access to profile information from hints and updated colors and styling. We hope that the new version 6.0 app experience will be a good one, and that the Ancestry Mobile App will become an ever more integral part of your Ancestry experience. If you have ideas, thoughts or questions please feel free to submit feedback by tapping on the “Feedback” tab within the Settings section of the app.

BillionGraves: Easy Family History for Kids!

BillionGraves

Belle M Graves on BillionGraves!

I’ve been wanting for awhile now to help with BillionGraves’ efforts to photograph the world’s cemeteries. And recently I was looking for a “date” idea with my 9-year old son. Something outdoorsy (for me) and technology-friendly (for him). Well, I realized there’s a perfect app for that combo–BillionGraves!

First we created an account (from the BillionGraves home page). Then, from the Get Started page, we downloaded the app to my iPhone/iPad, watched a quick video about what we were doing (great intro for my son) and then watched another quick video about how to take good gravestone photos.

We were ready to go! But where to go? Which cemeteries near us needed imaging? The BillionGraves app told us!

BG screen shotThe “Cemeteries” section shows, in order of distance from our house, the names and locations of graveyards near us and how many images have already been taken at each. I was surprised to see that of 15 cemeteries within 6 miles of my house, only 2 had been imaged at all (and only partially, by the small number of images mentioned). There was plenty for us to do!

Using the link to Google Maps provided within the app on my iPhone, my son navigated us 1.5 miles to a little village cemetery. We took turns taking pictures on my iPhone. (Next time we’ll bring both the iPhone and iPad and split up, now that I know he can take good pictures.) We stayed only about 25 minutes because it was so hot. But we got nearly 60 images taken and committed to return and image the rest.

During those 25 minutes, my son saw the world in a whole new way. We saw a big tombstone for someone whose last name matched that of a main street near our home–was this an early settler? He commented on how sad it was that so many babies and kids were buried there. We sneaked a peek at two letters placed on a child’s grave, written by kids a few days earlier with their own thoughts on life. And–this last gave us a laugh–on the very first row we imaged for BillionGraves, we photographed the headstone of Belle M. Graves!

To me, this was a perfect introduction to family history for kids. I’d advise it for any kid old enough to take a good picture with a mobile device (just supervise them for quality control).

Are you a BillionGraves volunteer, either in the “field” or as an online transcriptionist? Tell us how that’s been meaningful to you on the Genealogy Gems Facebook page!

Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast Episode 110: New FREE Apps and More

Genealogy Gems Premium MembershipLisa found a few minutes before heading out to play “mother of the bride” to publish Genealogy Gems Premium podcast episode 110

There’s lots of fun stuff on there for you lucky Premium members, like:

  • Lisa talks about great FREE new apps she loves, including Magnifying Glass with Light, which we posted here about;
  • Advice to a listener on finding a home for some orphaned family memorabilia in the Mailbox section of the show notes;
  • An inspiring family history use for Twitter.

Haven’t become a Premium member yet? Did you know you’re missing out on not just podcast episodes like this one (and 109 archived episodes) but a growing online collection of Lisa’s video classes on her most popular topics. She adds a new video class every month! Check out the benefits of Premium membership here.

SCGS Jamboree 2014: Get the Free App

SCGS Jamboree 2014 appAre you going to the SCGS Jamboree 2014 (June 6-9)? The conference app  is now available for download!

The app works on all web-enabled platforms, including iOS (iPad, iPad mini, iTouch, iPhone); Android; BlackBerry; Windows. Laptop and desktop users can also make use of the app.

The app is your personal conference guide. According to conference organizers, here’s what it helps you do:

Plan your weekend at Jamboree.

  • Preview all of the classes by reading the descriptions.
  • Browse day by day, or do a search by topic or experience level.
  • Download the dozens of syllabus articles available through the app and print them for use.
  • Look up your favorite speakers and review the sessions they are teaching.
  • Select your sessions and add them to your own personal schedule to keep organized.
  • Explore the exhibit hall from the comfort of your couch long before the doors open.
  • Do you have questions for speakers or exhibitors? Ask them in advance.

Stay in touch before, during and after Jamboree.

  • Create your profile so others know you’re attending
  • Connect with your friends and send messages.
  • Share your class schedule if you’d like others to know where to find you.
  • Receive breaking news texts from the Jamboree staff about schedule changes, etc.
  • Sync the app across multiple devices.
  • Twitter users, send and read tweets from within the app.
  • Keep up with the Jamboree blog.
  • Provide your feedback on speaker sessions directly from the app.

Download the app today and give it a test run. Can you find Lisa’s classes in the Speaker section and her booth info in the Exhibitor section? It’s worth a look because there are two downloadable pdfs there for you!

FREE FGS Webinars: War of 1812, Using Twitter in Genealogy

FGS logoFor a limited time, you can watch FREE genealogy webinars from the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) 2014 Webinar Series. These are top-notch experts in their fields who have a lot to share. These three caught my eye:

“Discovering Local and State Militia Records” by J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA is available only until Sunday, April 27, 2014:

So is “Researching in the Post War Records of 1812″ by Craig Scott, MA, CG:

Interested in social media? Don’t miss this webinar: “Capturing the Community: Using Twitter to Connect, Engage and Educate in Genealogy” by Jen Baldwin:

Check out the full webinar series here.

Magnify Your Genealogy Research with this App and Your Smartphone

Magnifying reading glassesSometimes when I really need to read something my arms just aren’t long enough and my reading glasses are buried in the bottom of my purse. But one things that is always within reach is my smartphone.

My favorite mobile app that comes to my rescue  is Magnifying Glass with Light by Falcon in Motion for the iOS. I use it on both my iPhone and iPad. (Android users can grab Magnificent Magnifier HD for the same sort of tool.)

Magnifier mobile app for smartphoneMagnifying Glass with Light is a handy free tool that I find myself using quite often. The first time, I was coming home at night, and the porch light was off. Not only was it dark, but I didn’t have my readers handy so I couldn’t have read the number pad on the front door lock if I wanted to (which I did!) I whipped out my iPhone and not only did the light illuminate the situation, the magnifier made reading those little numbered buttons a snap.

Safely inside, I continue to use this handy tool to inspect old family photos, read small print and other genealogical activities.  In this screenshot (right) you can see what the app screen looks like as I inspect the tiny writing at the top of an street car in a old photo of my Great Grandfather (below.) Sweet!

San Francisco Street Car Great Grandpa Burkett Family History

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s what’s new in Version 3:Magnifying Glass with Light mobile app iphone

  • LED light level control
  • Image Stabilizer
  • Crystal Clear Mode
  • High Contrast Mode
  • Auto-Focus Lock
  • Save photos to exclusive album

Bottom Line:

Price: Free

Ease of Use: Easy

Relevance to Daily Life: Daily Uses

Download: Yes!

Further Reading:
British newspaper Archive App: Here & Then
Using Evernote on the iPad, Android, Tablet & Smartphones
Turn Your iPad into a Genealogy Powerhouse

 

 

British Newspaper Archive App: Here & Then

The newest kid on the app block is Here & Then, which serves up fascinating historic articles, images and advertisements from The British Newspaper Archive through your iPhone for free.

Here & Then Mobile App for Genealogy

Click to enlarge image

Download Here & Then from Apple’s iTunes store

Download this mobile app and read stories from over 200 years of historical newspapers for free, wherever you are.

  • Learn what happened on this day in history
  • Discover reports reflecting today’s news
  • Enjoy interesting and amusing snippets dating back to the 1700s

Don’t have an iPhone? You can also read daily stories on our Facebook page – ‘like’ The British Newspaper Archive on Facebook

About The British Newspaper Archive
The British Newspaper Archive is a partnership project between the British Library and DC Thomson Family History. From November 2011 to 2021, up to 40 million pages from historical newspapers across the UK and Ireland (spanning the period, 1700 to 1950) will be uploaded to the website. www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk.

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive research collection.

Using Evernote on the iPad, Android Tablet, and Smartphones

evernote on the ipad, evernote heroRecently I heard from Jill, who is learning to use Evernote on the iPad for her genealogy. She asks:

“I am using Evernote only as a “note taking” app.  I am not sure how to use it on my iPad. I  have your “quick guide”…how do you copy items (on a mobile device such as iPad, Android tablet, or smartphone) to be put in Evernote from a website?”

Solution: Using Evernote on Mobile Devices

The Evernote for Genealogists quick reference guide will prove invaluable for the desktop software (Windows or Mac), but it doesn’t apply to the free Evernote app.

Every Evernote account has its own unique email address. In the Desktop software’s menu go to TOOLS > ACCOUNT INFO and you’ll see it there. You can use that email address to email photos, etc. from your iPad to your Evernote account.

Dolphin App for mobile genealogy and EvernoteTo learn about web clipping on the iPad and other mobile devices, watch the video of my class on the RootsTech website “How to Become an iPad Power User” (you’ll find the class towards the bottom of the 2014 video list.) In the video I show you how to use the free browser app called Dolphin to easily accomplish mobile web clipping, plus lots of other tips. You can download the free handout for that class here.  Evernote is built right in to Dolphin, making web clipping of your genealogy finds just as easy on an iPad or other mobile device as it is on your desktop!

Genealogy Gems Premium Membership and PodcastFinally, Genealogy Gems Premium Membership is loaded with Evernote tutorial videos including one I just did as a webinar (that video alone has a retail value of $39.95) Genealogy Gems Premium membership is just $29.95 and includes over a dozen classes and 100+ premium podcast episodes)

Happy (Mobile) Clipping!

Family History Episode 21 – RootsMagic and Irish Genealogy Research

Family History: Genealogy Made Easy PodcastOriginally published 2009. Republished March 4, 2014

Download the Show Notes for this Episode

Welcome to this step-by-step series for beginning genealogists—and more experienced ones who want to brush up or learn something new. I first ran this series in 2008-2009. So many people have asked about it, I’m bringing it back in weekly segments.

Episode 21: RootsMagic and Irish Genealogy

Lacey Cooke guest-hosts this double-feature episode on two big topics in family history: RootsMagic genealogy software and how to get started in Irish research.

In the first segment you’ll from Bruce Buzbee, president and founder of RootsMagic Genealogy Software. He talks about his industry-leading software, RootsMagic, which you can try in basic form for free (RootsMagic Essentials) or purchase with all the bells and whistles (totally worth it!) for $29.95.

And in our second segment you’ll hear from Judith Wight. This is a very timely conversation since we are soon to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and Judith is a professional genealogist whose specialty (and personal passion) is Irish research.  This is your chance to learn from a master about how to find those elusive Irish ancestors! Listen for her tips on finding Church of Ireland records, civil registrations, estate records and how history helps us understand gaps in the records.

More Irish Research Links!

Irish Genealogy

RootsIreland

 

 

 

Just How Many (and Who) are Subscribing to Podcasts?

Lisa Louise Cooke Studio FinalAccording to Apple, iTunes crossed a huge milestone this year: 1 Billion Podcast Subscriptions! An incredible number considering that podcasting did not exist before 2005.

Podcasts continue to grow in popularity, and we have certainly seen that growth here at Genealogy Gems. The Genealogy Gems Podcast is fast approaching 1.5 million episode downloads. Here are more stats you might find interesting:

While most Genealogy Gems Podcast listeners live in the U.S., this map shows that genealogists around the world are tuning in:

 

podcast map

Here are regions broken down by those  downloading the most episodes:

access

region

 

Most of you are listening via iTunes (both online and loaded on to your favorite mobile device) and through the Genealogy Gems Podcast Mobile app:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a fun infographic we put together that you can share with your friends and on your blog: