Friday, August 26, 2016

Nifty New Stuff on the Apps

The Family Tree apps are constantly improving. Here are some of the recent additions that I find cool.

Interview questions for audio recordings

On the Android Memories and Family Tree, and the iOS Family Tree app only, they have added a list of possible interview questions to use when you want to record an interview with a family member.

Android Memories

  1. Open the app
  2. Tap the microphone icon at the top.
  3. Tap the in the upper right.
  4. Browse the list of questions. If you like one, tap it.
  5. Tap Start and ask the question as you begin the recording. 
Android Family Tree
  1. Open the app.
  2. Tap a person.
  3. Tap Audio in the green bar near the top
  4. Tap + in the lower right.
  5. Again, the questions -- continue as for Memories app.
iOS Family Tree
  1. Open the app.
  2. Tap a person.
  3. Tap Memories.
  4. Tap + in the lower right.
  5. Tap Record Audio.
  6. The possible questions appear. Continue as for the Android app.
When you finish and save the recording, the system uses the topic question as an automatic title for the recording. Of course, you can edit it.

Search historical records without opening a person's record

I love this! Before, you could search records for a specific person, but you couldn't access Historical Records otherwise. Now, in the Family Tree app for Android or iOS, you can go directly to Historical Records and explore to your heart's content. You need WiFi or Data Plan access to the Internet for this to work.

On Android, open the app and tap the menu icon in the upper right (three dots). Tap Search Historical Records

On iOS, the menu icon is three lines in the upper left. Tap it and then tap Search Historical Records.

The interface is identical to the website (DUH!). You can search indexed records by name. You can search specific collections. You can browse all published collections (something I like to do from time to time just to see what's newly added in areas of interest to me). You can search by location. On the Android you select a region and sub-region from lists to search by location. On iOS, you tap a place on a world map. You might want to take a look at my earlier post about searching for records to maximize your success.

Jump to from the iOS app

You are probably aware that, when you are on a person page on the FamilySearch website, you can click to search on,, or The iOS Family Tree app now gives you the option to search from the person page of an ancestor.
  1. Tap to go to the details of an ancestor.
  2. Tap the menu icon in the far right of the dark bar that includes the ancestor name (3 dots).
  3. Tap Search Records
  4. You can tap FamilySearch to search records from Or you can tap Ancestry to search their records.
Just like on the website, the search for Ancestry or FamilySearch auto-populates with information about your ancestor from Family Tree. 

Maps showing where ancestors lived from the iOS Family Tree app

New feature and still a little buggy. It seems to work well, except for places that have changed jurisdictions over time. For instance, it did not put up a map for my husband's grandfather who was born in what was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. But, for parts of the world that are more stable, it works well.
  1. Tap an ancestor.
  2. On the Details page (which is what usually comes up by default), tap any event that shows a place.
  3. A small map shows with a map pin in that place.
  4. Tap that small map and a large map appears with pins in each place identified on the Details screen. This includes birth, death, burial, residence. If it's on the Details screen, it shows. It does not show places on other tabs, like the Spouses tab. So you don't see the marriage place. 
It's pretty fun and could be a nice way to show the younger folks where you family has lived in a visual way.

While I don't do my hard-core research using the apps, they do have some really good features and some of the features, like the ancestors with tasks and descendants with tasks and the new map feature on iOS are not available anywhere else. And they are handy for passing time when I am somewhere with WiFi access and in "wait" mode. And I think the audio option in the Memories and Tree apps is really good to capture memories of the elderly in our family when we visit a nursing home or at a family gathering. Record and get onto Family Tree in one easy session. Just got to remember to keep the recordings short.

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