In the old days, researching your family’s history probably required making a trip to the library while lugging around a briefcase stuffed with pads of paper, pens, old journals, newspaper clippings, cameras, and various other documents.
But things are different in 2016.
While today’s family history enthusiast will likely carry a laptop and an audio recorder, research trips no longer need to be bogged down with briefcases full of information. In fact, you’ve probably got all the tools and information you need right in the palm of your hand, thanks to your smartphone.
Smartphones today are essentially small, powerful computers with the capacity to connect to the Internet, take high-definition photos, and even record audio. Some smartphone apps allow you to take your genealogical data with you wherever you’re researching.
You can use your smartphone for genealogy work in many ways. Here are three of the most useful.
Find Ancestors Using Cemetery Apps
At one time or another, we all hit a brick wall in our research. Perhaps you just can’t seem to find your great-great-grandfather’s place of birth. It’s easy to get discouraged when this happens. So what should you do? Why not hop on your smartphone and use a cemetery app?
“A lot of times I’ve had success finding information about my ancestors using cemetery apps,” said Crystal Beutler at the2015 RootsTech conference. “You can look for your ancestors in these databases, which are made up of information submitted by cemeteries, historical societies, and volunteers like you and me.”
Beutler acknowledged that many cemetery apps are available but said that her favorite is Find A Grave. “Not only have I found pictures of headstones [with Find A Grave], but I found obituaries, biographies, photos of individuals. It’s really exciting.”
The app also provides a place where genealogists from around the globe can collaborate and assist one another in their research.
For example, if you can’t find an image of your great-grandmother’s headstone within the app, you can request that a photo of the headstone be taken and uploaded. One of over 200,000 volunteers worldwide could respond to such a request, taking and uploading the photo in a short amount of time.
The Find A Grave app is available for download on the App Store and the Google Play Store.
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