“As promised, we have recently released the first version of the Find A Grave mobile app," said Mike Lawless of Ancestry.com’s Find A Grave app team. “With the app, you’ll be able to bring the most important aspects of Find A Grave with you.” The new app can:
- Access burial info
- Locate grave sites through a simple search
- Search grave marker, cemetery, and memorial photos
- Request headstone photos
- Find cemeteries
- Fulfill photo requests, posting the photographs instantly
- Create memorials with bios and photos
- Share discoveries through Facebook, emails, and texts
I don’t know if the Find A Grave people had an app in development when Ancestry.com purchased them. I’m guessing they did not. This would then be the first big value the public has enjoyed because of the purchase. Along with the app, users get access to Ancestry.com’s large, full-time support organization. The app, like Find A Grave itself, remains free.
“This release is just the beginning and we have a road map of features for our users which will keep the Find A Grave mobile app improving over time,” said Lawless.
I was not able to install the app on my iPhone because it requires 7.0 or later and my phone’s stuck on 6.1. An Android app is in the works, but Ancestry.com hasn’t yet announced a date. The current Find Grave Android app was not official and I’m not certain if it is still available. I would assume Ancestry.com would ask them to remove it.
The marriage of cell phone, camera, and GPS is a natural for grave marker photography, but Find A Grave is not the first to offer such an app. BillionGraves released its app three years ago. While they don’t actual have a billion grave marker photos, they have grown from nothing to six million markers in a very short amount of time. The Ancestry.com Find A Grave app may curtail BillionGraves’s encroachment on Find A Grave’s domestic market, but last month BillionGraves and MyHeritage announced a partnership to make the BillionGraves app available in 25 languages and expand its use worldwide.
Tombfinder from SaasSoft is a similar app, but is approaching the market differently. Thy have partnered with 230 cemeteries to provide visitors a finding aid to cemetery plots in those cemeteries. NMCP Finder provides the same service, but is dedicated to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (the Punchbowl Cemetery). Beloved by Eilon Fulman allows users to mark the GPS location of gravesites, but doesn’t support photos.
The Find A Grave app can be downloaded from the iTunes app store.