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

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A little bit more about the iPhone App

Visually very impressive, so I have to fuss around with it to find out if it is as good as it looks. This is always my reaction to anything new in software or electronics. The App is basically as good as it looks, a slick interface with a lot of potential for information. So what's the issue?

Here is the basic layout. has a program called Family Tree Maker which is available now for both the PC and the Mac. They also have online Family Trees. Do the all the programs talk to each other? Well, not directly. does provide a utility for moving the files, but information on a PC still has to be moved and sometimes the information does not move completely from one version of Family Tree Maker to another. This is especially true when you add the online Family Trees. The statement from is as follows:
Note: Downloading an Ancestry tree is not intended as way to synch your tree in Family Tree Maker. It is intended as a way to start a new tree from work you have previously done in or to merge in information from Ancestry to Family Tree Maker.
 You may also want to look at the instructions for the Merge Wizard in Family Tree Maker. Why is all this a concern? The iPhone App works with the online Family Trees. If you add information to your online Family Tree and want to move that information to your local Family Tree Maker program, you have to go through the steps of importing and merging the file. There is no synchronization path. Here is the official statement from the Help file:
The Download a tree from Ancestry and Upload To Ancestry tools make it easy for you to start trees from existing files in either Family Tree Maker or While these tools are helpful, they do not synch up the data between the two services. and Family Tree Maker have different features sets and use different data formats. Depending on the contents of your files, some data may not transfer as expected.
So, the iPhone App is really neat, but quite limited. It would be wonderful if you have all your research and files online on, otherwise, you will have to go through several steps if you get information into the online program that you do not have in your local program, Family Tree Maker.

So contrary to what I thought earlier, I am not going to rush out and put all my data files on's online Family Tree file. I may put some of the data online, but I will use the App to demonstrate how  you can work with data and sources but not to store my own data and sources. Too bad, huh?