Ancestry.com iOS Apps

1920 Cen­sus in the Ancestry.com App on an iPad

Ancestry.com announced apps for iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch devices (Ancestry.com blog link).

The free app allows Ancestry.com mem­bers to access fam­i­ly trees they have cre­at­ed or that have been cre­at­ed by their friends, and get access to the doc­u­ments they have attached to these trees while they not at a com­put­er, but have an Apple iOS device handy. (Ancestry.com says they are inves­ti­gat­ing cre­at­ing an Android oper­at­ing sys­tem ver­sion of the App.)

This announce­ment involves Ances­try improv­ing it’s iPhone App, and also releas­ing an iPad-spe­cif­ic app designed specif­i­cal­ly for use with the larg­er for­mat of the iPad.

The blog entry says:

Today, we announced the avail­abil­i­ty of an enhanced ver­sion of our iPhone app, Ances­try, that now has uni­ver­sal sup­port for the iPad and offers sev­er­al new fea­tures:

  • An inter­ac­tive fam­i­ly tree view­er to visu­al­ize rela­tion­ships in your fam­i­ly his­to­ry
  • Access to fam­i­ly trees that were shared with you
  • Abil­i­ty to view attached his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ments and source cita­tions attached via Ancestry.com
  • An improved user expe­ri­ence
  • Avail­able on the iPad”

On the iPad, Ancestry.com makes the point that this will be a pow­er­ful shar­ing tool for geneal­o­gists to show one anoth­er and their fam­i­lies what they have found.

While I do not have an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, and haven’t felt a real desire to get one until now, being hap­py with my HTC Evo Android phone, my Mac lap­tops, and my Kin­dle, this looks quite inter­est­ing.

With Ancestry.com’s acqui­si­tions last year of Foot­note, one won­ders if the inter­ac­tiv­i­ty avail­able on that site will seed cre­ativ­i­ty around these mobile apps, allow­ing users to anno­tate images for them­selves and oth­ers from the App, and upload this infor­ma­tion to the web.

The app becomes real­ly com­pelling if I can make “notes” about the genealog­i­cal images, say that have been incor­rect­ly indexed, and then, the next time I am online, upload those notes for oth­ers. Or, if I can take quick snap­shots (iPad 2 is rumored to have a cam­era), then upload these quick­ly to Flickr, Ances­try, and oth­er accounts with default pri­va­cy set­tings. As a one-way app, Ances­try looks cool; as a portable col­lab­o­rat­ing and crowd sourc­ing tool, it would be an almost essen­tial addi­tion to any genealogist’s tech­no­log­i­cal toolk­it.

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