Your Smartphone, the Genealogy Tool

Whether you just got a new smartphone as a gift this holiday season, or you have owned your smartphone for a while and you have yet to explore all of its potential uses, here is something to think about. Your smartphone can be used as a genealogist’s tool. From capturing pictures and taking video and voice recordings to taking notes, your smartphone can be as useful to you, the genealogist, as a Swiss Army knife is to a camper.

How do you use your smartphone for genealogy? You can use some of the apps that may have come pre – installed on your smartphone and you can also download other apps, some of which will cost you nothing. For example, when I got my Motorola Droid 4 earlier this year, it came with a camera that doubles as a video camera. Most smartphones have this feature, and it comes in handy for snapping family photos as well as places that we visit. You could even use it to take pictures of family artifacts or documents that you come across in your research, provided that photographing the documents is permitted by the rules of the place where the records are located.

I have downloaded a few apps that could come in handy for genealogy – related tasks. Evernote is an app that enables you to take notes, make lists, and store other bits and pieces of information in an organized way. Catch Notes is another app that I do not have, but it does the same type of thing – enables users to capture and store various types of information and organize it. Dropbox is a great file sharing app that enables you to access documents from your computer on your phone, and vice versa. All that you have to do is set up the app on your phone and computer, drop the documents or other items that you want to access on your phone into the “box”, and voila. Portable documents. Other apps that you may want to consider are the Ancestry.com app (if you are an Ancestry.com member, of course) and BillionGraves (a cemetery information and photo app for Android and Apple users).

What are your favorite genealogy apps?

Photo by jfierst on morguefile.com.

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