One of my earliest posts on this blog was about Find A Grave and how it could be used to help you with your genealogy research.
It’s long bothered me that they had no mobile app that could be used on my cell phone. Certain since BillionGraves launched back in 2011, the lack of a mobile app has been glaring.
Last year Ancestry.com purchased FindAGrave, and people have been wondering what was going to happen to the service. The first big change luckily is a good one, the launch of a mobile app!
The app is focused on searching for cemeteries and graves. It doesn’t yet have any way to manage the memorials you’ve created on FindAGrave.com, or Virtual Cemeteries. One very important feature it has integrated, however, is finding nearby graves that people have requested photos of, allowing you to submit photos through the app.
One thing you might notice in the screenshot above is that it allows you to ‘Add GPS’ to a grave. While Find A Grave has never death with GPS before, it seems they are now moving in BillionGraves’ direction by supporting, at least in a small way, GPS coding of graves.
Do you use Find A Grave? Do you use BillionGraves? Are you planning on downloading this app? Have you already? Share your thoughts on grave-focused sites and apps in the comments below.
I wrote previously about the World Memory Project (WMP), a collaboration between the USHMM and Ancestry.com to index USHMM-held records using Ancestry.com’s indexing software from their more general World Archives Project (WAP). In fact, if you look at the World Archives Project site, you’ll see all the World Memory Project projects now are listed as part of their large World Archives Project list.
One of my earliest blog posts (just over two years ago) was on the topic of Giving Back Through Indexing, and suggesting volunteering for online indexing efforts as a way of giving back to the genealogy community. At the time FamilySearch’s was the largest effort (and probably still is) and Ancestry.com had yet to launch WAP.
The World Archive Project also lists as partners many genealogy societies, including (among Jewish groups) JewishGen, JGS of Los Angeles, and JGS of Southern Nevada.
Ancestry.com makes all databases indexed through the WAP available for free through their site, although access to images is not free, and sometimes not available at all on Ancestry.com. In some cases, like with USHMM records, the images may only be viewed at the host organization itself.
One of the criticisms I had of the Ancestry.com’s WMP and WAP projects when I wrote my earlier article was that they didn’t have Mac indexing software. As a Mac user I was especially disappointed in not being able to participate in these projects.
Apparently, back in October Ancestry.com launched the Mac version of their indexing software (they call it the Keying Tool). I hadn’t noticed that until now, so I downloaded the software and gave it a spin. Like the similar software for FamilySearch indexing, the user interface is a bit clunky. My biggest problem
I’ve written before about efforts to improve genealogy standards (The Future of Sharing and Genealogy Standards, Another Look). It was in 1995 that the last real standard of GEDCOM (GEnealogical Data COMmunication), version 5.5, was released. Most genealogy programs support a draft release which was released in 1999, even though it was never finalized, called GEDCOM 5.5.1. So it’s been at least 13 years since any standard has been created that has been used for genealogy.
Earlier this year, the GEDCOM X effort was announced, but it is not yet used in any products. The other major effort, started earlier, but without the support of FamilySearch which originally created GEDCOM, is the Family History Information Standards Organization (FHSIO). Originally called BetterGEDCOM, it is an effort started by genealogists to create a new open standard for exchanging genealogy information.
In May, FHISO announced that Ancestry.com had joined as a founding member of the organization. Personally, I was hesitant to attribute as much as you might think to that announcement, as nothing in the announcement mentioned support in FamilyTreeMaker (their desktop genealogy application) nor Ancestry.com itself.
Yesterday, however, it was announced that RootsMagic had also joined FHISO as a founding member. As a major provider of genealogy software, it’s great news that they’ve joined this effort to create new standards. Without support of genealogy software companies, none of these efforts will be worth much.
Hopefully we’ll see other genealogy software companies like Millenia (Legacy Family Tree), Leister Productions (Reunion for Mac) and Incline (Ancestral Quest) will also support this effort, as well as open source efforts like GRAMPS.
UPDATE: On August 15, it was announced that WikiTree has also joined FHISO as a Founding Member. Good to see. I’m a fan of WikiTree, and its support of FHISO can only be a good thing.