Monday, August 26, 2013

Talking Tech: Family tree apps for the iPad - MobileFamilyTree

Welcome to the last entry in my series on family tree apps for iGadgets.  This week I'm reviewing MobileFamilyTree.  In previous entries I've reviewed GedView, Heredis and LiveHistory.


MobileFamilyTree by Synium is another fairly young app.  I learned about it by doing either a Google search or by searching in the App Store.  And here's my disclaimer for this week: The developers of MobileFamilyTree were kind enough to provide me with a free copy of the app to look at and review.  I make every effort to ensure my posts are fair and unbiased whether I pay for the item (in this case, the app) or it is provided to me at reduced or no cost.

MobileFamilyTree currently only has one review in the App Store for it.  Not having used the app with Family Search (I don't currently have a tree on Family Search) I can't speak to whether the review is accurate or not.

And getting right down to it...

The Good:
  • The interface is very good looking.
  • The GEDCOM import was very easy and I loved how the import progress bar showed not only how far it was in the import process and how far it had to go but it also showed how many people, families, etc. were being imported so I could verify right away that everything imported.
  • The menu options of running reports or viewing the virtual family tree right in the individual record are really great

  • Seeing the fields for nicknames and other names was very exciting!  Not every app has these fields.  And YAY!  A field for married name!  That's a great idea, so you can show whether a female changed their name, kept their maiden name or hyphenated their name!  That feature gets an A+
  • Being someone who works in databases all day I was also thrilled to see appropriate fields for title and suffix as well.

  • There is a good selection of person event options to add to each record.  From adoption to wills and everything in between INCLUDING faith and residences

  • Another home run: the Associated Person field.  Wow, what a great idea to be able to associate a witness or godparent with an event!

  • The in app help is really good.

  • The Research Assistant and Family Search integration are nice features.

  • The reports are fantastic!  I especially like the format of the to-do report.

  • The options that are available of both the views and the reports is wonderful!

  • I like being able to see both the databases you have and the GEDCOM files you've opened in the front screen.

  • It's nice to be able to export to a GEDCOM file or share via the cloud, not all apps have even one of those options, let alone both.

  • Individuals can be bookmarked for easy access, which is a great option.  A start person can also be identified.
  • The labels section is an interesting addition.  I can see there being some potential with that.
  • It has the option to merge a person and add media.
  • The "Places" screen is pretty interesting.  I can see the potential for that area if you're looking for things in certain locations.

  • Navigation is very easy, being set up similar to using a web browser.  This set up makes it quick and easy to move between individuals and families and makes it quick and easy to move from one individual to another.

The Bad:
  • Not being able to see the full location in the "Persons" list is a pretty big inconvenience.  Only the city is currently visible so, for example, if you have two George Smiths with one born in Kansas City, MO and the other in Kansas City, KS you would have to go into each record to see which person was the person you wanted.  Including complete location information in the "Persons" view would make locating the correct person a little quicker.
  • Being able to select a preferred partner or to re-order the partners to show the most recent union first is really necessary functionality in my opinion.
  • Including functionality to allow re-ordering of facts (or other items) would be really helpful.  I like to see my items in chronologically order and unless you enter them that way in this app it doesn't seem to allow you to re-order them.  A genealogist rarely gets to enter events chronologically.
  • There's no field where you can add your own organization code.  Other apps have had this option and it was really nice.
  • Being able to add a source right from the screen of the person you're working in would be much better than having to add it before including the source in a person's record.  On the other hand, it's nice to have the option to be able to add sources.

The Ugly:

  • I would love to see the to-do list have a checkbox next to the item so you could check it off and have it be hidden from the current to-dos on a done list (similar to the Apple "Reminders" app) or at least be moved to the bottom of the to-do list and show as done.  It's kind of clunky when you have to edit the item to mark it done and then it still shows on the to-do list.
  • I'd love to see the option of adding new "types" in the to-do screen.  "Further research" is just too generic for my tastes.
  • I'd also love to see the name/item that's been associated with a to-do show up in the list of to-dos so you don't have to look at each item to know who it's for.  For example, I needed to get several birth certificates.  I titled each item "Get birth certificate copy" and assigned it to a person.  I would have liked to have been able to look at the to-do list and see the title of the to-do and somewhere next to or underneat have the to-do assignment listed.

Recommendations not necessarily falling in the above categories:
  • I know developers are trying very hard to be all-inclusive but I would prefer to have spouse or partner fields to be selectable between the two as opposed to titled specifically "Spouse" or "Partner".  I can see why it's been titled such and that's really a minor personal preference complaint.

I highly recommend this app for any iGadget user, although it has the potential to be somewhat confusing for new iGadget users.  The help documentation is very good on this app though so don't be intimidated by all the bells and whistles it has!

Overall grade: A

That's it for Talking Tech (for now).  If anyone happens to see another app they'd like to have me review please don't hesitate to contact me and let me know.  I'm always happy to spend some time reviewing items that could be helpful to genealogists.