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Category: Android

Android Genealogy

Android Genealogy

Way back when I had a Palm which I loved. I had three before Palm stopped making the organizers. I tried other things but it was years before I found an iPod Touch. I have since added an iPad. I tried FamViewer, GEDViewer and Families on them. My comments on FamViewer are here . If you read the comments the developer tells about GEDViewer which I then tried and wrote about here.

Families is only for Legacy software. It allows you to put your entire database on it, add to it while out and about, sync back to your computer. You need to make sure you have the latest database on your idevice, upload it and sync back BEFORE you change something on your computer. If you take a computer along and forget to sync first there is a problem. I sat through the Legacy webinar on Families. While I like having my whole database I am not comfortable doing the sync thing as a general rule. On a specific trip maybe. Here’s the webinar. (Scroll down to April 11, 2012.)

This week I got a new phone, an Android. I had GedStar Pro on my Palm. It is not available for idevices (and never will be the developer says) but it is available for Android. I made haste to install it. It is simple but it has everything. You can look up names, families, pedigrees, descendants. You can view your sources, even the details. On some screens, including marriage and burial, you can get a map of the location. On all the maps I tried it got it right even though my locations do not always conform to naming systems required by my genealogy programs – and which their mapping programs whine about.

The program requires first converting your database. It converts directly from Legacy and The Master Genealogist, requires a GEDCOM for other programs. Once you have that there are several ways to get it on your device but the easiest – which they encourage – is to use Dropbox. The developer’s web site has all the documentation and it won’t take you long to read the whole thing. It is very simple to use.(Hints: install the program, open it on your device once, then proceed with making the file conversion. When making the conversion save the file to Dropbox rather than moving it there later.)

Families is also available for the Android. Julie Cahill Tarr has written a series of articles on apps she uses for her Kindle Fire (an Android device) here. She discusses Families for Android, the Ancestry app (which is available for Apple and Android) and a couple non genealogy programs she uses which I also use.

Billion Graves

Billion Graves

Billion Graves is a relatively new web site which attempts to photograph tombstones and locate them on a cemetery map using GPS codes. This is a great idea. They also plan to transcribe the stones, either by the photographer transcribing or by a volunteer coming along later and transcribing stones from photos online.


Billion Graves support told me the GPS is so “other people can know the distance they are from the cemetery.” I tend to think it is more useful to locate the stone once you find the cemetery except in the case of a stone photographed in a hidden cemetery. What are the chances of that happening often?


To submit a photo you download an app to your iPhone or to your Android, snap the photo and upload it. It’s that simple. You could do a whole cemetery in an afternoon in many cases. The app is $1.99 and, obviously, uses your device’s camera. You can set it upload after each snap or later. You can chose to save the picture after upload or delete it. Why would would you delete it?


Don’t have an iPhone or Android? You will not be snapping pictures. End of story. But you can still transcribe those others have snapped and not transcribed. Note that according to the software, an iPad or a new generation iPod will not work because only an iPhone has GPS accurate enough for this program. Thus only a select group may participate. 


You can use an iPad connected to the internet to tell you of cemeteries nearby where you are at this moment. And maybe that is what they are getting at in paragraph two above. “It sure is a nice day here in this county we are driving through. Let’s see if there are any cemeteries nearby to photograph.” I’m guessing that feature won’t get a lot of use. 


It totally eliminates all stone photos taken before the program. This eliminates the ability of certain folks to collect photos from various places and post them as their own. But it also eliminates a lot of available photos. And it eliminates the photos I and others took years ago of stones which may no longer be readable or which may now be broken, seriously damaged or gone.


I think this is a good idea but it is not ready for prime time.