Tuesday, May 21, 2013

#NGS2013 - Ancestry.com’s Mobile App

The Ancestry Insider listening to Aaron Orr
(C) 2013 by the National Genealogical Society, Inc.
Used by permission of the National Genealogical
Society and the photographer, Scott Stewart.
Scott inadvertently caught me listening to Aaron.
Can you tell which one is me?
Ancestry.com didn’t have any presenters do regular sessions at the 2013 annual conference of the National Genealogical Society, so I had a challenge writing about Ancestry.com. I would have attended their “Ancestry Day” sessions Saturday, but I was too wound up in my own presentations. As an alternative, I attended a couple of their in-booth presentations.

Aaron Orr is the product manager for Ancestry.com’s mobile product. It is available for both iOS and Android although the Android app lags the iOS version a little bit.

The Ancestry app is free and easy to use. Login using your Ancestry.com account. Or simply start entering your tree.

You can see all your trees on your device. Download a tree to your app and as long as you don’t log out, it will stay on the device. If you want to make changes, you must be connected. As you make changes either on the web or on the app, changes are reflected on the other.

You can choose either a pedigree view or a tree view.

Ancestry app Pedigree View  Ancestry app Tree View

Click on a person or swipe the right edge of the screen to view details about a person. Along the bottom you can select three tabs: info, family, and gallery.

The bottom of the person flyout

On the Info tab you can see life events and add more. You can view hints. You can view the person’s relationship to yourself. You can add notes here. “Notes are super great while out in a library or archive,” said Orr.

On the Family tab you can see family members: parents, spouse, children, and siblings. You can add new ones.

On the Gallery tab you can see photos, attached Ancestry.com records, and sources. You can add more photos.

The top left corner of the screen has a list button that lists all the people in your tree. Or filter the list to just direct ancestors, end-of-line people, living relatives, people with hints, or people with recent hints. Or search by name.

The top left of the Ancestry app

The center button at the top lists your user trees. It shows which ones have been downloaded. You can change the tree settings from there.

While difficult to see, some person cards have a shadow. (All of the persons in the illustration above have one.) Click the person to reveal more of that person’s tree.

There are two types of hints: photos (iOS only) and records (shakey leaves). There was a way to share but I can’t remember how. You can share via Facebook, Twitter, or email. It sends a cool email that contains the image and context about the person. It looked pretty cool but I could not find how to do it. Why don’t iPad apps have help files? I tried to search help on Ancestry.com,  but Advanced Search had never heard of the Ancestry app. Frustrating.

I only experienced one other hiccup while I prepared this article. One time I clicked the screen and it went all scrambled. After about 5 seconds I was suddenly back on the iOS desktop. I restarted the Ancestry app and found myself on some random person. Hopefully nothing was lost in the episode.

Because Family Tree Maker can synchronize with Ancestry.com public member trees, and because the Ancestry App can synchronize with Ancestry.com public member trees, it is possible to synchronize your tree across all your devices and environments.

Thanks, Aaron, for the demo.

1 comment:

  1. Can a gedcom file be downloaded to the app? I can't see doing an individual addition of the several thousand folks over again. Also, do you have to be a paying member of ancestry.com or will just a free account suffice?


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