Back in early summer, I upgraded my cell phone to an android smartphone. Reading through genealogy blogs I had been intrigued by the use of smartphones in the research process. Now that I had a smartphone, just how was I going to use it. Would it really help me in my research process?
I spent the summer learning the different features of my phone and trialing different apps that might be useful. On my Mecklenburg County, VA research trip earlier this month I was ready to put my smartphone to the test.
Here is how I used my smartphone for an out of town research trip:
- GPS – The GPS app got to the Mecklenburg County court house without a glitch.
- Phone/Text – Use of these two features really goes without saying, but these basic features kept me in touch with my family back home as we coordinated activities based on when I would return home.
- CamScanner – This app proved a fantastic tool in my research. I was able to scan original documents on the spot. I was also able to crop/enhance a document, convert it to a .pdf and upload it immediately to Dropbox (my cloud storage). The app also gives one the ability to text or e-mail the scanned document. Since I was scanning a number of documents, I waited until I got home to upload the whole batch to Dropbox. I confess I had my digital camera handy just in case the CamScanner did not work or I ran my phone battery down. (It’s always good to have a back-up plan.)
- Camera – I used the phone on my camera to take pictures of Boydton, VA and its historic court house. Oh, yes, and a picture of my new found cousin, Cynthia.
- Dropbox – I used the Dropbox app to pull up information from earlier research I had done on my family line.
- Ancestry.com – I used the ancestry.com app to access my family tree as I was working.
My smartphone has streamlined my research process. I do not need to carry around so many papers and worry I brought the right one. I was definitely more efficient in my research.
Will I ever totally paperless with my research?
Probably not. I still problem solve best with pencil and paper.
Cousins and Genealogy friends, what smartphone apps do you find most useful?