RootsTech 2015

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

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Ancestry.com and FindAGrave.com release app for iOS mobile devices

In light of the announcement from Ancestry.com and FindAGrave.com about an iOS app, it is probably no coincidence that MyHeritage.com had already announced a partnership with BillionGraves.com to develop a world-wide app for mobile devices. On 19 February 2014 they made the following announcement:
TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI & KAYSVILLE, Utah – Wednesday 19 February, 2014
- MyHeritage, the popular online family history network, has partnered with BillionGraves to launch a global crowdsourcing initiative to preserve the world’s cemeteries. 
BillionGraves is a free iOS and Android application that lets users easily photograph and document gravestones, providing an important source of information for people intrigued about their ancestors and family history. Using patent-pending technology, BillionGraves is the only mobile application of its kind. With the help of MyHeritage, the app will be available in 25 languages, and will support Gregorian, Hebrew and Julian dates. It records the GPS locations of gravestones to make them easy to find and volunteers can easily see which areas of any cemetery remain undocumented, to maximize efficiency and avoid duplication. The gravestone photographs are then transcribed by volunteers on the BillionGraves website, resulting in searchable digital data. 
With a community of tens of millions of family history enthusiasts all around the world, MyHeritage brings a vast global volunteer base for collecting and transcribing gravestone photos using the BillionGraves application.
 Of course Ancestry.com appears to be playing catch-up ball, but all of this greatly benefits the genealogy community. Ancestry.com's announcement is entitled, "Find A Grave Mobile App for iOS Now Available." The new app is described as follows:
First of all, it’s free – just like Find A Grave. With the app, you’ll be able to bring the most important aspects of Find A Grave with you. You can see cemeteries near you or around the world, search for loved ones by name, take photos for existing memorials, or add new ones right from the app.

The app is beautiful and contains rich photos, and all of the memorial details that the website has, but with a modern view of the Find A Grave brand. One aspect of Find A Grave that I’ve always loved, is the ability to request photos and take photos for others. Not strictly required, I think this aspect of Find A Grave captures some of the best community spirit, and so we made sure to get this in our first release. As a logged in user, you can request photos for memorials, just like on the website, and the network of volunteers can see those requests and fulfill them directly, or claim them, in order to help plan their next cemetery outing. 
- See more at: http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/03/03/find-a-grave-mobile-app-for-ios-now-available/#sthash.DIu9AJl0.dpuf
I downloaded the app to my iPhone. At first, I could not figure out how to take a photo, but after clicking on a particular cemetery, I finally found a camera icon and could get to where you could take a photo and upload it to the cemetery site. I tried to open the FAQ section of the app to get some idea how you later found your photo on the FindAGrave.com website, but the FAQ section would not load. I didn't have time to go to a cemetery and try out the app, but I would guess that the app will change several times in the near future. It will be interesting to go to a cemetery and see how the apps from BillionGraves.com and FindAGrave.com compare.

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