November 24, 2017

4 Great Local History Apps for Genealogists

amy johnson crow interview rootstech local history appsIn Lisa Louise Cooke’s new video interview with Amy Crow, Amy shares 4 of her favorite free local history apps and websites for genealogists.

At RootsTech 2016, Lisa Louise Cooke chatted with Amy Johnson Crow about Amy’s class, “Best Websites and Apps for Finding Local History.” In the video below, Amy shares four of her favorite (and FREE) local history apps and websites, along with tips for using them. Click the video player below to watch, and then below the video, see a summary with links to those sites.

When searching the following FREE local history apps and sites, Amy recommends searching for a place rather than an ancestor’s name.

History Pin. This website is like Pinterest for history, says Amy. It’s especially strong for local history in England, Ireland, Scotland, but also wonderful for the U.S. A lot of organizations have added photos and curated them into collections, like Pinterest boards.

Instagram. It’s not just for the kids and pictures of your food! Follow libraries, archives and historical societies that are in towns where your ancestors lived. They may post historic photos from their collections. Instagram now has a feature where you can share photos with those you follow on Instagram. Use it to share a cool old picture that relates to your family history with a young relative.

The Clio. This website and local history app (available through Google Play and on iTunes for iPhone/iPad) shows you historic sites around you when you turn on your location services. The resources, descriptions and bibliographic entries on this site are great to follow up with for your research.

What Was There. At this site (or with the iPhone app) you can view historic photos plotted on a map near your current location. Use it to look around and ask the question, “What happened here?” if you’re on a walk or visiting somewhere. The site is integrated with Google Street View. You can also upload your own old photos if you know where they were taken and do an overlay in Google Maps, in much the same way Lisa teaches about doing in Google Earth.

amy johnson crow interview rootstech 2

“We focus so much on the people, and we search for names. I really believe that if we have any hope of understanding the ancestors, we have to understand where they lived…what was impacting their lives.”  -Amy Johnson Crow

 

mobile genealogy bookLooking for more mobile genealogy tips? Turn to Lisa Louise Cooke’s brand new book, Mobile Genealogy: How to Use Your Tablet and Smartphone for Family History Research. In addition to apps specifically for genealogy, you’ll also find recommendations for free and inexpensive apps for all those related tasks: note-taking, recording interviews, taking pictures, reading, collaborating, traveling, learning and sharing genealogy with loved ones.

Record and Share Oral History Interviews with Free MyHeritage App

The free MyHeritage app makes it easy to record oral history interviews with loved ones on your mobile device. Share these on your MyHeritage tree and even keep a copy of the audio file for yourself.

family history interviews audio recordings

Oral history interviews are instant heirlooms. They capture not only a person’s memories, but the sound and nuances of their voice. You preserve the unique essence of the way they speak, like an accent, the way they turn a phrase or pronounce certain words.

The MyHeritage mobile app now offers the ability to record and share oral history interviews right from your mobile device. This is something Ancestry.com doesn’t offer (no uploading of video or audio at ALL, let alone a function that lets you record), which is why this caught my eye.

I did some homework so I can show you how to record and share oral histories with MyHeritage–and how to save the master file to your own computer, as Lisa so often recommends. (Click here to read why). Here’s the step-by-step:

MyHeritage app audio icon oral history interviews

MyHeritage.com image.

1. From within the app, go to your family tree.

2. Open the individual profile for the person about whom you’re doing an interview.

3. You’ll see an audio icon (looks like a set of headphones–see image to the right). Tap it to create a new recording or to access previous recordings about that person.

4. The recording will automatically sync to your online tree, where other members of your family website can access and enjoy it. If you use Family Tree Builder, MyHeritage.com’s desktop software, it will sync to there along with other updates.

5. Save the audio file to your own computer. Log in to your MyHeritage family website. Go to that person’s individual profile. Look under the photo stream for that person for the audio file, which looks like this:

MyHeritage audio file in photo stream oral history interviews

Click on the audio file icon. You’ll see this screen:

MyHeritage audio recording download oral history interviews

Click Download. The file will be downloaded to your computer as an .m4a filetype.

Remember, you can also upload any audio or video files created in the past to your MyHeritage family website, as well. MyHeritage say: “Scroll over the Photos tab and select ‘Add photos & videos.’ A black overlay will appear over the current page. You can drag & drop photos, videos, documents and audio files into the black overlay where it says ‘Drag photos & videos here.’ Alternatively, you can click the blue button ‘Select files’ and choose files from your computer.” Click here to learn more about using audio files on MyHeritage.

mobile genealogy bookYou will find more mobile genealogy gems like this one in Lisa Louise Cooke’s new book, Mobile Genealogy: How to Use Your Tablet and Smartphone for Family History Research. There’s an entire chapter on how to use free audio apps! Other chapters on apps for note-taking, file storage, photo, collaboration, travel, genealogy and sharing your family history will also help you make your mobile device a powerful genealogy tool.

How to Find Genealogy Apps: New Premium Video

how to find essential apps for genealogists genealogy appsThere’s a new video tutorial on genealogy apps for Genealogy Gems Premium website members: “How to Find Essential Genealogy Apps for Genealogists.”

What are the best apps for genealogy? The ones that accomplish whatever you want to GET DONE. Like:

  • consulting
  • working on your family tree
  • translating an old church register
  • digitally restoring an old photo.
  • Having your mobile device read you an e-book or blog post (yes, you can do this for free).

But to make the most of the many mobile tools out there for the genealogist, you need to strategically look for them rather than hope you stumble across them. Because most of them aren’t conveniently marked “for the genealogist.”

A new 36-minute video tutorial by leading tech genealogy educator Lisa Louise Cooke shows you how to get the most out of your mobile device for genealogy. In “How to Find Essential Genealogy Apps for Genealogists (and 3 to Start Using Right Away)” she covers:

  • How to identify mobile-friendly tasks you want to accomplish;
  • Apps that every genealogist can enjoy right away;
  • Knowing where to look for apps;
  • Automating the process of finding apps; and
  • How to keep from purchasing apps you don’t need.

Get the Book!mobile genealogy book

These tips are taken from hundreds of hours of research and testing Lisa put into her new book Mobile Genealogy: How to Use Your Tablet and Smartphone for Family History Research.

Save 10% off Mobile Genealogy
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Premium Membership

Genealogy Gems Premium MembershipThe How to Find Essential Genealogy Apps for Genealogists video is one of nearly 30 full-length video tutorials (and an Evernote mini-series tutorial) that you will have access to as a Genealogy Gems Premium Member. To learn more about membership, click here.)

More on Genealogy Apps and Mobile Genealogy

How to Use Your Mobile Device for Genealogy: Free Video

3 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Mobile Device

Tools to Highlight Your Great Genealogy Finds: Snagit and Skitch

 

How to Use Your Mobile Device for Genealogy: Free Video!

how to use your mobile device for genealogyDo you have a smartphone, iPad or tablet? Watch this free video lecture on how to use your mobile device for genealogy!

Lisa Louise Cooke is a leader in teaching the genealogical community how to get the most out of their mobile devices. Her first book, Turn Your iPad into a Genealogy Powerhouse, actually convinced me to buy an iPad–and then taught me how to use it, both for everyday tasks and specifically for genealogy. (Some of us over a certain age don’t automatically “get” how to use our mobile devices!)

mobile genealogy bookLisa has since expanded her “iPad for genealogy” education to include smart phones and tablets, both Android and Apple. She’s packed all her current tips into a brand new book, Mobile Genealogy: How to Use Your Tablet and Smartphone for Family History Research.

Lisa gave a 30-minute class in the RootsTech Exhibitor Hall with several tips from her new book. She streamed the class live through Periscope, a free app available in the App Store or Google Play! Later she heard from Suzi: “Just wanted to say thank you and how much I enjoyed seeing you via Periscope during Roots Tech. I really enjoyed watching your presentations. You are always so up to date on the tech side of genealogy. It was so cool. I would hear a little whistle (a notification from the app that someone you follow is broadcasting live), click on my iPad and there you were! I am a long time listener to your podcasts and you always inspire me to keep searching. Thank you!!!”

Click on the image below to watch this video. And click here to download the free accompanying handout.

Lisa Louise Cooke's Genealogy Gems PodcastMore Gems on Using Your Mobile Device for Genealogy

Genealogy Gems mobile friendly website3 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Mobile Device

5 Free Family History Apps You Should Have

The Genealogy Gems Website is Mobile-Friendly: What That Means for You

3 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Mobile Device

getting the most out of your mobile deviceEver feel like your tablet or smart phone is smarter than you? Here are 3 quick tips for getting the most out of your mobile device.

If you’ve got a mobile device–a smart phone, tablet or iPad–but aren’t really sure how to use it, you’re not alone. This common problem makes me think of this video below of how one father uses his iPad. Check out the expression on his daughter’s face!

Don’t resort to using your mobile device as a cutting board! There are so many things you can do with it in everyday life, for work or hobbies–and especially for genealogy. I’ll teach you more step-by-step mobile genealogy in the coming months. But let’s get started with these 3 quick tips for getting the most out of your mobile device:

1. Know your mobile device. In the case of an iPad, for example, which generation do you have (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, Air, Pro etc.)? Which operating system does it use? How much storage space is on the device itself and how much cloud-based storage space do you have? (How much is available right now?) Your ability to answer these questions will help you to know which apps you can use and will help you best manage your device’s memory.

Don’t be afraid to browse your device to find these answers. If you can’t find the answers, (and there’s no 15 year old handy to help you), just Google your question. Below are two sample Google searches I ran: click to read the top result for each! (You can model your specific Google search phrase after the examples below.)

2. Keep your device updated to its current operating system.

Sometimes when you’re having trouble using your mobile device, it’s because its operating system is out-of-date. (On Apple products, you’ll see that referred to as iOS.) Some people consider it annoying to have to frequently update their operating systems, but the world of mobile technology changes so quickly that you really do need the most current system to be glitch-free and good-to-go.

How to find the version of your operating system:

1. Tap Settings
2. Tap General (iOS) or About Device (Android)
3. Tap Software Update
4. You will either see that your operating system software is up to date (and what version it currently is), or you will be notified it is out of date and prompted to update it.

An up-to-date operating system helps ensure you are getting the most out of your mobile device.

3. Get to know your Settings.

settings iconYour Settings icon probably looks like a gear. Open it. Browse the different areas so you’ll become familiar with it. Some features you’ll want to use will require that you activate them in the Settings. Also, sometimes if your device is supposed to support a feature but it doesn’t work, that may be an indication that you need to update something in your Settings. It’s not difficult to do!

mobile genealogy bookIn the coming months, I’ll teach you LOTS more about using your mobile device for genealogy (and everything else). Just enter your email in the “Sign Up for the Free Email Newsletter” box on any page on my website to make sure you’ll receive these helpful articles. (You’ll also receive a free gift just for signing up!)

Ready to make ensure that you’re getting the most out of your mobile device for genealogy?
My brand-new book Mobile Genealogy: How to Use Your Tablet and Smartphone for Family History Research is on SALE for those who pre-order through January 31, 2016.