Tuesday 1 June 2021

Apps for Family History tasks

Most Tuesdays at 7 pm AEST I join this twitter chat, tonight's version as you see above is about Apps for Family History Tasks. Now this topic is so wide that a 60 minute chat may barely scratch the surface, so let us look at some terminology.


When mobile devices first appeared on the scene the word app was used to describe a small program that could be installed on your device whether that was a smart phone or a tablet. In more common usage nowadays an app can be any small computer program usually on a mobile device but now used on computers too, often described as web apps. Has the word app reverted to its origin - application, in the sense of meaning any computer program, or do you still think of it in terms of mobile devices?

Family History Tasks

These are many and varied but may come under these general headings
  • Searching for information
  • Evaluating information
  • Recording the information
  • Communicating
  • Preserving information

General notes

Some apps can be used to achieve all of the above tasks to various degrees. These include the large online genealogy companies  - Ancestry MyHeritage, FindmyPast and FamilySearch all of which have web and mobile apps. One can search for relatives, evaluate the information found, record it and share it with others. So I'll leave those aside for now. 

If you are using a family history database on your computer check the app stores to see if it has a mobile app. 

Next the Google suite of products - Chrome for using and tracking Google web searches, Keep for notetaking and OCR from images, Sheets for evaluating and filtering information, Docs for writing up family stories and extracting OCR from PDFs, Slides for presenting stories, Gmail and Meet for communication, Photos for storing and sharing, Calendar to keep track of upcoming events, Blogger for publishing findings and stories, Maps for viewing ancestors' locations, Earth for creating story maps. YouTube private channel for sharing video.  All mobile and web.

Microsoft has an equal array of products and mobile apps, some with a higher price tag. 

A Limited List of Apps for Family Historians (m = mobile d = desktop w = web)

  • Evernote  m,d,w
  • OneNote - m, w
  • Voice recorder
  • Billion Graves - searching and recording m, w
  • FindaGrave - searching and recording m,w
Photos and presentation
  • Pixlr  - editing, family collages m, w
  • PhotoMapo iOS only, place family photos and text on maps
  • Canva - blog and twitter
Made in Photo Mapo

  • Microsoft Office Lens m
  • Adobe Scan m
  • CamScanner m
  • Feedly - keeping up to date with genealogy world via blogs and sites
  • LibraryThing - for keeping track of  relevant titles m,w
  • Adobe Digital Editions - reading epubs m, d
  • Facebook m, w
  • Twitter m, w
  • Instagram m, w,
  • Pinterest m, w
  • Viber - free phone, text and media to family m, d
  • WhatsApp - free phone, text and media to family m, d
Preserving and Sharing Information
  • Dropbox m, w
  • Box m, w
  • PixStori - add voice to a photo, share/send as mp4  mobile iOS or  web  http://www.pixstori.com/  these can be downloaded.  
  • The same effect without the branding can be created with PowerPoint or Keynote (recent versions) record with just one or two photos and export as video. Here's one created with a single photo using Keynote on iPad.

A couple of late additions
  • UMark Photo Lite - for adding Watermarks to photos m,w
  • Wolfram Alpha - computational search e.g. dates and times m,w
Do you use any other interesting apps for family history tasks?

This post first appeared on https://carmelgalvin.info

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