Notes from the past…

Serious genealogical research with an iPad? (Part 4)

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In Parts 1, 2 and 3 of this series, I discussed my new iPad and my hopes of using it as a dedicated genealogical research tablet. I installed some useful apps and even discovered an e-book written specifically for this purpose.

My iPad was quickly transforming into that “genealogy powerhouse”, but it still needed a few more powers!

EvernoteI need to be able to take notes, save documents and images, and then somehow get everything back to my desktop computer. For these tasks, Evernote is the perfect tool. With Evernote, I can do all these things, and then sync it all between my iPad, my desktop computer, even my iPhone. Free! I had played around a bit with Evernote in the past, but not seriously. But with the iPad, it is perfect for my needs! A couple of iPad screenshots:

EvernoteTo the left is a view of all my Evernote notebooks and to the right is a single note with data collected about my 3rd great-grandaunt, Rebecca Ann Stanley. As you can see, Evernote saves notes and images. Luv it!

I also occasionally want to print out a document or photo. Not so easy with an iPad, as I don’t have a wireless printer (no place to plug a non-wireless printer into an iPad!). But Evernote again comes to my rescue. Whatever needs to be printed is synced between all my devices, so I just open up my desktop Evernote program and print the item with my regular printer. Not a direct solution to the problem of printing, but still very workable.

My next task was find a way to research on the Internet more effectively. The native browser for an iPad is Safari, which I really don’t like. Google’s Chrome or Mozilla’s Firefox browsers are, in my opinion, much faster and easier to use. Old habits die hard… I can still use download and use Chrome, but every link on the iPad automatically opens in Safari. So it’s a lot of busywork to use Chrome.

But unless I jailbreak my iPad, which I don’t want to do, I’m stuck with Safari. Better learn to live with it! So what I did was basically force myself to use Safari and get more comfortable with it. To that end, I exported my genealogy bookmarks to Evernote for easy access and also created a second encrypted note containing usernames and passwords for Ancestry.com, Fold3.com, FamilySearch.org, etc. I’ll just have to manage…

With the “surfing” problem solved, the last item on my iPad to-do list was to have the ability to view and update my genealogy database with my new research findings. When I first began working with my new iPad, I installed an app from my iPhone called FamViewer, which gives me read-only access to my database. I can refer to it as needed, but can’t add or change anything.

RootsMagic is what I use on my desktop PC for my genealogy database and would never change, and the word is that an iOs app will be available soon, perhaps by the end of the year for RootsMagic. Until then, I can only wait… ;)

Lean, mean, ancestor-hunting machine!After a few more little tweaks (adding many of my genealogy reference books, in .pdf format, to the iBooks app that comes with iPad, installing the Nook app for more books, and adding an app for handwritten notes), my almost-new iPad 2 is now a lean, mean, ancestor-hunting machine!

Also in this series:
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