The recent demise of my laptop computer left me bereft of my family tree, internet access that is comfortable and genealogy information found but not yet processed (ugh). Truly, for a family historian, this is one of the worst nightmares, ever. Two weeks without genealogy or researching has left me "jonesing" for another family history hit. Yes, a terrible state of being!
Out of necessity, the search began for another outlet of genealogy. Looking on the Ancestry store, the ancestry app was mentioned so I decided to check it out. What could it hurt? Doing genealogy off my phone was different but do-able. After all there is a certain amount of pride to be had for being flexible and able to learn new tech.
The Motorola Droid Ancestry app is free. You find it in the Google play store. After installing it on my phone it was easy to sign in using my Ancestry login and password. The look of the app is sleek and easy to use.
Ancestry gives users two ways to view their family tree. The first and most traditional is demonstrated below. This is the view that I usually prefer.
This is the second view of the family tree that Ancestry offers. I believe this is the view that is most popular with users as it lists siblings/children.
When working with this app, double tap a person on the family tree and it will bring up that person's stats. For this article I chose my fourth great grandfather, Ahab Bowen. As you can see it shows all the facts I have entered on my Ancestry tree. One cool feature that I find helpful is the "View relationship to me". Tap on the script and it will ask which person you would like to view the relation to. So say I tap on the script on Ahab's page (like below) the app will prompt me to find a name. I chose myself and it said that I was his fourth great granddaughter. Now if I choose Mary Lyon Easley it would have come up as "his wife".
Another cool feature of this app is the ability to edit your tree. There are two ways you can edit your tree. You can tap on the three vertical dots at the top right of the screen to bring up a new window or...
you can tap on the fact you wish to edit or add a description to. If you tap on a specific fact to edit this is the screen that you will come up with.
Down at the bottom of the screen is a button "family". This lets you view all of the people directly related to the selected person. So as you can see below Ahab Bowen was the son of John Bowen and Sarah Bean. His spouse was Mary Lyon Easley. Then it goes on to list their children. Tapping on anyone of those names would take you to their individual page. On this page you can add a new parent, spouse or children. The "Gallery" button allows you to add pictures and documents to the selected person.
This final screen shot shows Ancestry Hints. Look back at the screen shot of Ahab Bowen's individual page you can see a leaf with a number just under his name and right above his stats. If you click on that leaf this the screen you would see. Click on say, the 1860 United States Federal Census, it would take you to the actual scanned census. This a feature that I like. Warning: if you don't have a paid Ancestry account you won't be able to view most census or other records (excluding the free 1880 and 1940 census).
In conclusion, the Ancestry app for Motorola Droid is useful and well put together. There are several features I like. The ability to view your full tree and edit it is amazing. The "Hints" are helpful and I really like the relationship calculator. The only downside of this app is that you can not search the Ancestry database. I can imagine that having this app would make research easier with your family tree at your finger tips without having to lug around a laptop and/or paper files. One could easily walk into their local genealogy society, look through books and records, then enter the information right onto their phone. I would seem that the untimely demise of my laptop was good. It made me search out new ways to do genealogy which are proving useful.
Never bypass a chance to grow!