Hit the Road Capt. Jack

AroundMeImage via WikipediaAre you going to go out of town for the Labor Day weekend? This year, we’re getting four days off. We are going to be visiting with some family at least one of the days. So, its a great time to put my new mobile apps to use. I got an iPhone last Christmas (thank you dear hubby!) and its really made life easier. The “Around Me” app alone really saved us when we were in Texas this summer for my nephews wedding and couldn’t locate the hotel. After the third time around the block, I pulled out my phone, put in the name of the hotel and it showed us exactly what turns to make to get there. Really cool.  Playing with “Around Me” some more, we found local museums and other hot spots. As an addicted genealogist, of course I had to pull up directions for the local libraries and cemeteries.

When we visited the Alamo, I pulled out my trusty “Reunion” app and looked up all the relatives that I needed to do research on and was able to put a personal history twist on the whole tour. Sorry PC users: Reunion is Macintosh software. The staff over at LeisterPro told me they has no intention of making Reunion available for Windows users. I can understand that. There are more lots of genealogy apps for PCs anyway, but Reunion is the king of genealogy software for Mac users.

The Reunion iPhone app works in conjunction with the Macintosh version. It allows you to keep your entire family at your fingertips. Or, if you prefer, you can save only the individuals you know you’ll be working on while out of town.

Since we are planning to visit my husband’s relatives, I decided to install the free “Ancestry” app. It came out in January but Ancestry and I have a love-hate relationship so I put it off until now. Sure enough, I had a bear of a time getting it to work. But, I have a hard time getting Ancestry.com to work on any device.

Ancestry likes my money, but whenever I try to sign on it doesn’t like my account information. Genealogists are very familiar with the question: “What do you mean I don’t exist?” Well, Ancestry, it seems, tries to re-enforce this age-old question every time I try to log in. I have to reset my password every time. I get a lot of password reset requests from the members of the Heycuz.net website, and I can totally identify with them due to the problems I have had with Ancestry. With all the money I’ve spent on Ancestry over the years, I expect them to say “Oh, here she comes again, cha-ching $$$$” and bend over backwards to open all the doors for me, but they still make me jump through hoops just to sign on.
Well, its working now and I’m excited to show Steve’s uncle some records that are easily viewable on the app. In fact, I can see them better on the app than I can on my Mac’s Firefox browser. Specifically, I am going to show him the Passenger ship records of his grandfather arriving in America and the census records that shows where he worked before he opened his restaurant.
Cell phone mobility has made a huge impact on our daily lives,  but genealogists tend to take a while to integrate the new tools into their research arsenal.The whole reason I even got into genealogy was due to this fact. I was trying to convince my mother–who’d been doing genealogy her entire life–to get an email account. I figured I’d show her all the information that was available online and pulled up the old GenWeb site.
She gave me a name and I put it in and found a list of people doing research on that name. I posted a query and amazingly within minutes I had a response. It turned out to be my father’s uncle’s daughter-in-law, but that’s another story. My mother’s eyes lit up with all the information available on that one website alone. So, I figured I was successful and soon she’d be emailing me daily. It didn’t turn out that way immediately. Instead, she sent me boxes of her research and a small note:

Happy Hunting, 


Love,


Mom”

Eventually, my mother did go online and ended up subscribing to Ancestry and buying me a subscription too. The cost of Ancestry depends on a number of factors including what databases you want access to. I had a worldwide access, but it turned out to be a waste because of the limited records available in the areas I was interested in. But the prices averages about $30 a month, which seems to me to be a lot of money to spend on a hobby.But there are some free areas on Ancestry.com so you really don’t have to subscribe at all. Since my mother bought it for me, I feel compelled to continue the subscription. 
Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBaseYou don’t have to have Ancestry, or an iPhone, to take advantage of mobile technology. There’s an entire website dedicated to mobile genealogy where you can find apps for your specific device: iPad, Palm, Kindle, Android, Windows Mobile, Laptops, Blackberry, Symbian, Newton, and on and on… So, hit the road Jack, but head on over to MobileGenealogy.com and get some research apps before you do.

NOTE: This is my second post toward my commitment to NaBloPoMo to write one post a day in September. Although I have not followed their prompts for writing topics, I still think its a great program. Have you signed up yet?


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