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LDS Church News

New family history apps take ancestor hunting on the go

By Ryan Morgenegg

LDS Church News

Published: Saturday, Aug. 23 2014 12:40 p.m. MDT

Updated: Friday, Aug. 22 2014 12:45 p.m. MDT

With the advances in technology in recent years, family history work is becoming easier and more convenient to do. Many time-consuming tasks people used to do can be done in moments. With mobile technology, family history work can be done almost anywhere. Two new mobile apps have been produced to assist people in this important work: FamilySearch Family Tree and FamilySearch Memories. Both are available in the Apple and Android app stores.

These new mobile apps allow a person to capture memories, interviews, photos and media sources from convenient locations such as a retirement home or care center, a restaurant, in the car or at a family reunion. Everything a person captures will sync with FamilySearch.org whenever a connection is active. Information will be accessible from any device and will be preserved for future generations. Both of these new apps are free.

FamilySearch Family Tree is a mobile companion to the robust FamilySearch.org. This app makes it easy to add photos, stories and audio recordings to the profile of an ancestor within a person’s family tree. Adding to or updating an ancestral profile with more details such as names, dates and relationships is not currently available but will be available in the near future.

This mobile companion to FamilySearch puts the power of heritage in an individual’s hands. Capturing important family moments like holidays, reunions and memorials is made easy with a mobile device. One user of the app said, “My family and I visited a few villages where my ancestors lived. It was great to have quick access to birth and death places, along with their photos.”

Another user said she enjoys the ability to make connections with her ancestors almost anywhere. She said, “I took the Family Tree app to a cemetery with my parents and children. There was a deep connection with our ancestors as we saw their photos and stories in the tree.”

People can get to know their family stories like never before. The names of ancestors come alive as people discover their adventures, defeats and triumphs.

Sharing discoveries about ancestors can be exciting and this app makes it easy. Learn something new about personal family stories while waiting in a grocery line, for laundry to dry or at the airport. Parents can share content with their children at bedtime or with family on Facebook.

Another user of the app said, “Last night I used the Family Tree app to tell my 6-year-old a bedtime story. He was instantly entranced. Even after 45 minutes of reading stories, my son wanted more.”

Preserving memories is important and FamilySearch Family Tree helps users add their favorite family photos, stories and documents to the tree for others to enjoy for years to come. Simple tools help users create a family story that can influence generations and the best part is that these things are archived free forever. Available for iOS 7+ and Android 2.3+.

The second of the new apps is FamilySearch Memories. It makes it easy to collect, preserve and share favorite family memories. A person can quickly record photos, video and audio to capture events, heirlooms, pictures and family history stories. They can tag people and events, and then sync them to FamilySearch.org. They can also make voice recordings.

One user of this app said, “Memories made for an awesome family night. We listened to stories I’ve never heard before. I can imagine sharing my dad’s life stories, told in his own voice, with my grandkids!”

Recording a person’s life story is easy now with built-in recording options. Save meaningful memories before it’s too late.

Now a user can tag people to Family Tree. First identify the people featured in a photo, story or recording and then automatically add that memory to the individual’s collection in FamilySearch Family Tree. A user said, “I saw my ancestors differently. There were things I had missed seeing before. I love that I can tap into tags and see the photo with and without names.”

Even when not connected to the Internet, the app captures all of the information put in and then syncs to FamilySearch.org when there is an Internet connection. The moments shared are stored free forever.

Children and teenagers can get excited with this new technology. Write family stories, jokes and sayings with a keyboard or use the mic key to capture what a person speaks. Sharing family stories, jokes and sayings can be done on the go. For example, simply adding faces to many of the names in a family tree adds depth. Bedtime, car rides, or any family get-together are immediately more meaningful. Available for iOS 7+with the Android version coming soon.

rmorgenegg@desnews.com @mreggman