Notes from the past…

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The iPad Challenge: Day 2

The Challenge: use my iPad alone (no other computer) to do my genealogical research for 1 week!

So, I’ve been using my iPad, and only my iPad, for my genealogical research for 2 days now. How’s it going?

Better, but I am still maddeningly slow with my iPad 2, as compared to my desktop PC. Or so it seems…

I’m sure I’m actually doing better than I think. When yesterday dawned, I had actually very little experience is even simple iPad tasks, such as reading my email or checking CNN. But as that day wore on, I became more and more comfortable with it. I did run into a couple of problems, both of which have been pretty much resolved:

  1. Big fingers- I get my hand size from my Dad! Talk about family history… Anyway, yesterday I bought a stylus and that helps immensely with copy/paste tasks, clicking on links, etc.
  2. Zooming in on an image using the iOs finger gestures made the image in general larger, but did not make it any clearer. We all know how notoriously bad a census enumerator’s handwriting can be. Zooming in on the census sheet can sometimes make it easier to read, but that doesn’t seem to work very well with the iOs 2-finger zoom technique. However, this morning I noticed something about Windows Photo Viewer, which is the program I use to view images:¬†zoom

I never realized that little zoom thingy was there before! Technology is a wonderful thing!¬†Piece o’ cake!

This morning I updated one ancestor’s file, just a couple of minor changes, no big deal…

The next name on the list was that of my 4th great-grandfather, Isaac Turney. Prior to today, all I had for him was his name. No census, BMD, cemetery, land, military… nothing but a name. The perfect project to really test my iPad’s research capabilities!

Step 1 was to look at the data I had for Isaac’s daughter, my 3GGM Elizabeth Turney. I’m pretty sure she was born in Tennessee about 1805, so that’s where my iPad and I started looking for Isaac. I’m guessing he was born ca 1750-1775 (ballpark!), so to begin my research, I looked for cemetery, census, Bureau of Land Management and War of 1812 records for Isaac Turney.

So for the next 2 hours, we (my iPad & me) visited,, Find A Grave, the Bureau of Land Management site and USGenWeb for Tennessee. Lots of search boxes to be filled in, lots of links to click. Even a few images to zoom in on and try to read and analyze.

I must say, we did a pretty good job, for just having a couple of hours to search for Isaac. We found several clues.. a good start!

Still seems to take too long…

One added benefit I have noticed about my iPad: I can leave my eyeglasses on all the time when using it, as opposed to playing “musical chairs” with my glasses with the PC. The iPad’s font seems to be just the perfect size for my 54-year-old eyes… :)

Also in this series:

  1. The iPad Challenge!
  2. The iPad Challenge: Day 1
  3. The iPad Challenge: Day 1 (cont)


The iPad Challenge:Day 1 (cont)

mt-everest-4The Challenge: use my iPad alone (no other computer) to do my genealogical research for 1 week!

I have been using my iPad all day and I am still sane (reasonably).

A few observations:



  1. You must have internet access for Splashtop 2 to be able to connect a PC (or whatever computer you use) to a mobile device (for me, the iPad 2)- not a problem since I’m usually online when I “do genealogy”.
  2. An iPad screen is a lot smaller than my desktop HP screen- takes a bit of getting used to (but not much).
  3. You gotta know and use the iPad finger gestures- I have had an iPhone for about a year, so I’m familiar with these, though not comfortable with them for everything, so I’ll need some practice.
  4. The iPad keyboard is certainly different- but I’m getting there…
  5. I was getting a bit frustrated until I figured out how to pull up the keyboard, I’m fine now (reasonably sane, remember?)
  6. While Splashtop 2 is accessing your computer, your computer’s screen becomes slightly distorted- no damage, still quite readable, returns to normal when Splashtop 2 not in use (so who really cares?).
  7. I have BIG fingers! Copy/paste, clicking on a link… now those are a challenge! Just gotta remember to zoom the page a bit (and I bought a stylus).
  8. When creating a post on WordPress, use the full screen option as much as possible.

So, on Day 1 of this 7-day Challenge, I researched and updated the file for one person. The process was much the same as with my PC, only much slower. I feel certain that will improve with more practice. I ran into only 2 significant problems, the first was remedied by the use of a stylus. The second had to do with zooming in on images that were difficult to read, in this case census sheets. I had to move back to my PC a couple of times to be able to zoom in clearly. Hopefully that will not be necessary as I gain more experience with the iPad.

I also uploaded the documents/photos of 1 ancestor (a total of 78 images) to this blog. Several images required resizing prior to upload. This was accomplished using my trusty old Paint Shop Pro program. Again the same process, only slower.

I also wrote 3 blog posts: the third was definitely easier than the first!

Day 2 of the iPad Challenge should be more productive!

Also in this series:

  1. The iPad Challenge!
  2. The iPad Challenge: Day 1

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The iPad Challenge: Day 1

I’m challenging myself to use only my iPad for my genealogical research for 1 week.

That presents the problems associated with having a read-only GEDCOM database app (FamViewer) on my iPad, and being able to get to all of the documents and photos in the Surname folders on my desktop computer.

More online research led me to this post from RootsMagic’s own Bruce Buzbee on the RootsMagic User forum on RootsWeb:

On 17 August 2012 16:13, RootsMagic <> wrote:
We are finishing up the iPad/iPhone RootsMagic reader app. It is
still on target for sometime this year.

For those who may want to access their full RM program from their
tablet (including editing), here is an option:

Splashtop is a program you install on your tablet that lets you
connect to your home computer and run any of the programs on that computer (it does require internet access).
So you can log into your home computer
on your iPad and run the copy of RootsMagic that is installed there,
and add or edit information directly
into your database at home.

- Bruce

Ok, I trust Bruce, so I checked out Splashtop 2 and quickly purchased ($2.99) the iPad app, downloaded the associated Streamer PC program, and set up a free account at Splashtop PC (necessary to be able to use Splashtop 2 to connect my computer to the iPad).


This is the neatest app I have ever used! As soon as I downloaded and logged into the Splashtop 2 program, I was instantly presented with this on my iPad:

my desktop

My desktop computer is now on my iPad! Too cool! (My grandkids are pretty awesome, too!)

Now I can access any program or image on my desktop thru my iPad! I can do research, enter my findings into RootsMagic, download and edit images, write blog posts, anything that I do with my desktop PC can be done on my iPad.


Also in this series:

  1. The iPad Challenge!