Technology and Genealogy

Genealogy and the Smart Phone

There is new technology for genealogy becoming available daily. What is good for me may not work for someone else but if you are willing to try something new you might find just what you need. And each generation of technology gets more user friendly.

My favorite tech tool for genealogy starts with my smart phone. In my case, it is an iPhone.


I can take memorable photos and document the photos with an oral recording about the photo-who is in it, what were the circumstances surrounding the photo. I can scan objects, documents and photos if I am out researching or visiting family. I can record interviews and special events with apps (with permission, of course.) I can even keep a journal that I can add photos to. I can add cemetery photos to and to FindAGrave with my smartphone.

Special apps give me mobile access to my family trees. I can have a copy of my FamilySearch tree, my tree, and my Roots To Go tree available where ever I may roam-providing I have internet access. I can even access FamilySearch and on my internet browser if I want to do something beyond the capabilities of the apps.

And then there are cloud document sharing apps and tools. One Note, Evernote, and Dropbox are available on my smartphone. And there are apps to help me share my photos and scans to these cloud-sharing apps. (We’ll talk about those in another post.)

Did I mention a reference library. I have a copy of Elizabeth Shown Mills book, “Evidence Explained” on my Kindle app. And of course, I can’t forget my favorite social media site that keeps me updated on tips and more new apps.

Oh, and one more thing, I usually only use apps and software that are free to download and use. I may upgrade if I determine that the upgrade is worth the cost after I have used the app to determine the worth of it.

Here is a list of what I have on my phone and where to get them.

Kindle app -free from

Family Trees and Cemetery apps

Ancestry app for iOS or Android

Billion Grave for iOS or Android

Find A Grave for iOS or Android

FamilySearch Family Tree for iOS

Roots Magic for iOS or Android

Preserving Memory Apps

A Memory App by FamilySearch for iOS or Android – 
FamilySearch Memories makes collecting, preserving, and sharing your favorite family memories easy and convenient wherever you are. You could be the one everyone thanks for saving the most meaningful memories.

Keepy for iOS or Android – the new way for families to save and share memories ranging from old family photos, to videos to kids’ artwork and schoolwork.

Legacy Stories for iOS or Android – Scan a vintage photo or document, then record your voice describing the image to create a “Pict-Oral Memory”. Give voice to ancestors by narrating stories associated with their photo, artifact, document or heirloom. Upload Pict-Oral Memories to your free personal library. Create ancestor or personal collections of important life events or stages. Link Pict-Oral Memories to ancestors on FamilyTree with the TreeConnect feature.

JRNL App – available in the Apple App Store. Learn more about this journaling app and software here.

Voice Recorder  by Tap Media – available in the Apple App Store. Audio recording for presentations, talks, interviews and family storytelling.

Scanning Apps

Scannable by Evernote – Available in the Apple App Store.  (iOS only) If you are an Evernote User (and you should be), Scannable scans photos and documents into your Evernote Notebooks.

Office Lens – Available at the Apple App Store and on Google Play for Android. Created by Windows, this app can trim, enhance and make pictures of whiteboards and documents readable. Office Lens can convert images to editable Word and PowerPoint files too.

FineScanner – Available in the Apple App Store. (iOS only) The app can handle receipts or multi-page documents from class just as easily, and the app’s OCR (premium users only) supports 44 different languages (although it doesn’t translate between them.) You can export your resulting file as an image, or as any of 12 different document types, including Office documents, PDFs, text files, and more. FineScanner can remove backgrounds from your scans, automatically enhance the final image to bring out text or highlight graphics. Plus, everything you save is archived in the app for future use, or you can tell FineScanner to save your files to cloud storage services like Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, Evernote, and others