TiP Rating: 4/5 stars
Release Date: 01/30/2011
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, requires iOS 3.1or later.
App Store Description: This updated app for iPhone®, iPod® Touch or iPad® gives you an even better way to take your Ancestry.com family tree with you. Now you can see your entire tree – not just names – in a more intuitive way. Just log in to your Ancestry.com account from anywhere to access your tree, edit information, upload photos, add a note – even add a long-lost family member. Plus, you can see shared trees and view records and source citations on the go. Whether you’re a seasoned family history expert or just getting started with genealogy, this new app can help you grow your Ancestry.com family tree wherever and whenever you make discoveries.
Summary: Ancestry.com’s service has always been one to encourage you to get in touch with your roots, find out who your ancestors are and form a family tree. This iOS app makes it convenient, portable and interactive.
Review: Living in such a worldwide culture, finding out your origins has never been so interesting, with the possibility of incredibly diverse results. A few hundred years ago many people would know who their great-great grandparents were, as they would rarely leave their towns. Now, many have parents from two vastly different parts of the globe. Take me for instance, born and bred in Britain, but my wife is from Cape Town, South Africa. My kids will have two unique cultural influences. What better way would there be for them to find out then through the interactivity of an iPad app?
The app itself offers as much as you could wish for, but, the level of content available to you depends on what type of account you have with Ancestry.com. To begin with, when you open the app there’s a brief tutorial on which gestures you use to control the application. Swiping left, right, up or down, you can swipe through generations. To begin, you add your information, then add your parents by either pressing the ‘+Father/Mother’ tab or in the side bar, press ‘Family’ then ‘Edit’. In the ‘Family’ tab you can add children, spouses, siblings and parents. (The side bar appears when you touch the logo on the top bar, or be swiping across from the right.)
You can add all sorts of information, from various types of life event, including Bar Mitzvah’s, Christening, burials, weddings, immigration, the list is almost endless. The app really comes in to its own when you have a paid Ancestry.com account. With the paid account comes access to legal records, letting you discover much more about your family. Also, you can add photographs for all the family members for which you have them. The photo viewer gives pinch-to-zoom functionality, and adds a thumbnail of the image to the appropriate person’s entry.
The app itself is fluid and responsive, I’ve not experience any lag whatsoever so far. It’s easy to navigate, and makes use of the 9.7″ screen, without cluttering it. Although simple, the graphics are pleasant. With its distressed leather background, and methodical layout it’s easy on the eye. Despite how great the app is, I feel there is something painfully obvious missing, social network integration. There should be an option to share family trees via Facebook at the very least, but it isn’t there, disappointingly. Overall the app is brilliant, but can be a little lacking if you don’t have a paid Ancestry.com account.