Genealogy for Geeks, Part 7: Family History on the Go

Geek Culture


For those who like to dig deeply into researching their family history, being away from their information can be frustrating. Like those of us who like to look up facts on the internet to prove a point to a friend, or figure out the name of that movie that a particular actor was in, genealogists often look up birth dates, names, photos, or relationships in their genealogy data frequently.

Census record. Image:

Fortunately, has a free app that solves that problem. Most useful on the iPad (though quite functional on smaller iDevices), the app gives people access to their family trees that are stored on Drag the tree around to navigate among generations, and tap to see facts, family information, photos, and evidence. You can also browse all of your entries, or search for a specific person. In the Evidence area of each individual entry, you can also see the notes that you have manually included with an ancestor, and you can also tap a button to visit the website in your browser to look up new information. Large trees (mine has thousands of entries) can take a minute or so to download, but everything is then accessible.

With the Ancestry app, you can view any of the information that you have in your family tree, including the original images for your primary sources, and you can also add new information or edit existing information manually. In some ways, viewing your family information in the app is more straightforward and organized than on the website. Everything is listed in chronological order, and you can see what you need at a glance.


Of course, if you want to do new genealogical research on the go, the website does pretty well in an iDevice browser as well. I found very little that I couldn’t do, compared to on my desktop computer.

The Ancestry app is free, and can be used by anyone with a family tree hosted at, whether you have a paid account or a free one. It’s a great way to reference your family history on the go, and is also great for showing the information to others. The app also comes with a sample family tree of John F. Kennedy’s family, so you can learn how the app works even without having your own family tree on file yet (you also learn how many servants the family had in 1930!).

Earlier posts in this series included Part 1: Who Do I Think I Am?, Part 2: Census Records, Part 3: Published Histories, Part 4: Military Records, Part 5: Finding the Dead, and Part 6: Hints.

Note: provided me access to their records for the purposes of these reviews. Consider starting your family tree there today. It’s free!

Enhanced by ZemantaEnhanced by Zemanta
Liked it? Take a second to support GeekDad and GeekMom on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!