"The Latest FREE Non-Genealogy Smart Phone Apps for Genealogists"
by Jean Wilcox Hibben; PhD, MA
Who doesn’t like a smart phone? Well, probably anyone who is confused by it, found it not doing what others say it will, found them cumbersome, and/or have not actually tried working with the device. But a smart phone has many redeeming qualities and these just might offset that list. For genealogists, especially those who travel any distance (to a local library or halfway around the world) to research their family history, the smart phone can be the most valuable tool in the researcher’s arsenal.
Consider step one of a genealogy journey: making contact. Certainly any telephone or email (or even snail mail) communication can assist in this task, but having the telephone numbers AND addresses AND email contact information of repositories, family members, the hotel, and even local (to the area) chambers of commerce and other public institutions where directions and advice might be found all in one place (in a directory or in an app that allows you to put information for each location in a separate file) can be invaluable. And most, if not all, of this can be done in advance.
Getting to your destination is the next step, and often a challenge. If you are driving, the GPS function of a smart phone is an obvious assistant, but it can also help you if you fly to the location and rent a car – your smart phone knows where you are and you just tell it where you want to go (and you do not always need an address: “Burbank Marriott” will get you to the conference just as easily as the Hollywood Way address). Some GPS programs will also tell you if there is road construction or an accident and help guide you around the problem area.
If you are flying, you can have all your boarding pass information stored on the smart phone for quick access (though a hard copy is not a bad idea in case your battery runs down). While on the plane, by putting the device in “airplane mode,” you can play a game or open your genealogy program, which you loaded on the appliance way in advance of your departure, and double check information you want might have forgotten.
Moving to the next step, you head to the repository. Provided you are permitted to do so, you can take photos with a scanning program app, making sure that the documents you are copying are absolutely crystal clear (some apps will even straighten crooked pages for your viewing convenience). You, of course, will also take a scan of the title page of the book or beginning frame of a microfilm (yes, you can also take photos right off the microfilm screen) so you have all the needed citation information.
And that wall map you would love to have a copy of? Ask permission first and, if allowed, take a photo of it. That will help you with the step that gets you to the cemetery. Obviously you will be taking photos of the appropriate tombstones, making on the spot adjustments in case the shading is not quite right. But as you walk around the blocks-long cemetery paths, how do you remember where you were before you got where you went? Is there something you missed? There is an app for that (don’t forget to turn it on before walking).
Of course you won’t want to miss the step of storing information in an app on your smart phone. Many of these allow you to send the data to the cloud. Doing that gives you a back-up and lets you view the material on your laptop, back in your hotel room.
All of the information mentioned above involves different applications available for free or a nominal cost (usually less than $5). But finding them may be a little tricky if you don’t know what they are called and what options are available. This, and some other general smart phone purchase and use tips, are what you will find in L. A. (Butch) Hibben’s Sunday workshop on Smart Phone use. Whether you already have a smart phone or are considering adding that to your genealogy tool box, this workshop is designed to expand your use and help you make decisions. Space is limited.
Sunday, June 11, 2017, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
SU-B The Latest FREE Non-Genealogy Smart Phone Apps for Genealogists presented by Lynn A (Butch) Hibben, CLA
This special workshop is part of a series of workshops that are open to registered attendees of the Genetic Genealogy Conference or at least one day at Jamboree 2017. Additional registration is required.