Research with My Smartphone

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 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:

  1. GPS – The GPS app got to the Mecklenburg County court house without a glitch.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. Dropbox – I used the Dropbox app to pull up information from earlier research I had done on my family line.
  6. 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?

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