Ancestry Mobile App Review

Ancestry Mobile App Review

Our review tries out Ancestry.com's mobile app for searching and using your Ancestry Member Tree.

Version: Android Version tested; Version 5.0 for iOS also available
Price: Free
Manufacturer: Ancestry.com, (800) 262-3787
System requirements: iPhone or iPad (iOS 6.0 or later) or Android
Demo/trial version: Sample tree shows the Kennedy family
Biggest draws: Easy access to your family tree, photos and records from anywhere
Drawbacks: Source citations to Ancestry.com’s records show details, but other citations don’t
 
Ease of use

Ancestry.com’s mobile app is easy to navigate. When you’re in Tree view, tap the menu key to see a list of trees, and to edit or delete a person from Timeline view. After opening a tree, swipe your finger to navigate through the generations. You can zoom in and out, and click on a name to view details. For articles on using the app, go to Help and click on the Mobile icon.

File editing
Build your family tree from scratch or access Ancestry.com Member Trees you’ve already created. (You don’t need a paid membership to create a Member Tree.) You can add new persons to your tree in Family and Tree views. Just as with desktop genealogy software, you can add life events, such as birth, marriage and death. Entering dates is a bit clunky. You also can add photos, and even take a picture with your mobile device and instantly add it to your tree. If you use the Family Tree Maker 2012 or later desktop software, the TreeSync feature can synchronize trees in the app to the Family Tree Maker file on your computer and your Ancestry Member Tree online.
Family tree viewing
Tree view can be oriented left-to-right or up-and-down. Tap on a name to move the selected person to the primary position. If the person is already there, tapping brings up the Person Panel, which has three tabs: Timeline, Family and Gallery. Timeline lists all the person’s life events, with an option to add more. Family view shows parents, spouse and siblings. (Just tap a name to navigate to that person.) Family and Gallery views don’t show the primary person’s name, so if you forget who you’re looking at, you’ll have to return to Timeline view to find out.
Photos, citations and documents 
Events in a person’s Timeline aren’t linked to sources in the Android app, as they are in the iOS app, a Member Tree and Family Tree Maker. The Gallery lists sources along with the facts they support, as well as photos and stories. Tap on an attached photo or record to view the image. (You’ll need an Ancestry.com subscription to view images from the site’s collections.) Zoom in on a document, such as a census record, to see it in crisp detail. You also can add a new photo from within a person’s Gallery. Source documents from Ancestry.com’s collections include a detailed citation, but citations to sources outside Ancestry.com show only the title, even when more details are in the citation in your Member Tree and Family Tree Maker files.
 
Searching
To open the navigation panel, click on the three bars to the left of the Ancestry.com logo at the top of the screen. You can search for a name or browse  an alphabetical list of everyone in your tree. Just as with a Member Tree or Family Tree Maker file, the mobile app automatically searches Ancestry.com’s historical records. A green leaf beside a name indicates a possible match in a record. Just click on a name and then on the leaf showing the number of hints for that person. If a record pertains to your relative, you can add the information to your tree. From a Gallery, you also can click on Find Sources to open Ancestry.com’s search screen in your browser.
The verdict
Ancestry.com’s mobile app lets you easily access your Ancestry Member Tree, photos and stories on the go. The site’s online Member Trees and Family Tree Maker software make it much easier to edit your family tree and they offer far more powerful tools for citing sources, but if you have an Ancestry.com account, you’ll definitely want to use the free app when you’re away from home.

 
From the October/November 2014 Family Tree Magazine  

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