Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

MobileTree, a new app for the iPhone and New FamilySearch

This past week at the Family History Expo in Mesa, Arizona, I had the opportunity to talk to the developers of the new MobileTree App for the iPhone. I downloaded the app and started using it this week. Here is an introductory video about the app.

The first thing I have to say is to reinforce the limitations of this app. IT IS NOT FOR EVERYONE, IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A LOGIN TO NEW FAMILYSEARCH, DO NOT BUY THIS APP. OK, now that said, this is a very impressive app and well worth the small purchase price.

The graphics are impressive, although, as with all iPhone apps the loading speed depends so much on local reception. Data intensive apps are generally very slow on the iPhone, especially compared to the same applications running on a fast Internet connection. So don't be surprised at the waits in between changing individuals. As a bonus, names searched on New FamilySearch can also be searched on Wikipedia, the FamilySearch Research Wiki and Google Search with a convenient link from inside the program. Unfortunately, the program doesn't help with any of the data problems present in New FamilySearch (it would be a miracle if it did) and so you need to be aware that what you see in MobileTree is only as accurate as the information in New FamilySearch. If there are multiple combined individuals, then what is shown in MobileTree will depend on which portion of the data is selected in the "Summary" view of the individual. In addition if there are multiple options for parents, the program selects the one showing in New FamilySearch, which may not be the "correct" one.

The data limitations of New FamilySearch, especially for individuals related to pioneer families, may make the data coming over to MobileTree less than useful, but data limitations should not be counted against the app programmers.

In reading the comments about the app in iTunes, it is incredible that someone would complain that the application was limited to LDS Church members and those registered to New FamilySearch, when it says that right in the description of the app. They apparently like to admit they can't read.

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