Online family history: Be “appy”

Besides the many online websites for genealogy searching, there are a growing number of great applications for iPads and iPhones worth a try … and the price is right: most of them are free.

Here are a few of the newer ones:

photo(2)Have part of your tree in Australia? The New South Wales government has an app for that! Called Family History, it allows a search of the database of the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Free. has a great app for obituaries of recent vintage (the last 25 years or so). Covers most provinces, though notably not Ontario. Free.

Research Logger is a place to store your research notes on your phone or pad while at a library or archives. Free.

TombFinder is one of several (including 1BGraves also free) that offer photos of gravestones. While not quite the equal of the online sites, these apps do provide the opportunity for you to easily contribute photos and cemetery listings… whether just your own family’s stone or those for a row or section of a cemetery. Neat feature: TombFinder uses GPS data when photos are uploaded, so it can offer precise driving and “walking” directions right to a particular stone. Free.

PaperOfRecord is an app with a price ($4.99) but can be just the destination if there is a particular historic newspaper you need to research. Hint: Check the list before signing up, to avoid disappointment. Some early papers I’ve used .. limited run of dates .. include the Bytown Gazette (1836-1845), Ottawa Free Press (1871-1881), Ottawa Times (1865-1867). I will admit I like the website best, but the iPad app is really a great research helper when not at the desk.

A search engine like Google or Bing … but just for genealogy sites and databases. That’s Mocavo. I have not found it especially useful myself, but many have found it helpful and it does have the ability to save and repeat searches.

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