Genealogy apps for iPad: Ancestry and GedView

I am looking for an app to use on my iPad for genealogy research.  This post records my test of a couple of apps.

Ancestry app

The free app looked ideal, being able to be linked to a database on my home computer if I upgraded to Family Tree Maker 2012.  The result of my trial of Version 2.0.3 released on 12 April 2011 was a fail.

Ancestry app

Description“The updated Ancestry app for iPhone®, iPod® Touch or iPad® gives you an even better way to take your family tree with you. Now you can see your entire tree — not just names — in a more intuitive way. Using the app, just log in to your account from anywhere to access your tree, edit information, upload photos, add a note — even add a long-lost family member. Plus, you can see shared trees and view records and source citations on the go.”

I have Family Tree Maker 2011 (FTM) on my computer, and an account. My family tree has over 14,000 individuals. I used the share button in FTM to upload my tree (entire file, but no media files). The upload failed when I tried to include media files!

I installed the Ancestry app on my iPad 2, logged in to my account, and tried to download my tree, Chris Korte’s NZ Genealogy Project (Oct 2011). Although the tree downloaded and processed it never displayed correctly despite numerous tries and long waits – display had no names, only part of the tree could be displayed, doubled up name entries (but still an incomplete tree). I tried numerous ways to fix – reinstall app on ipad, re-download app, reboot ipad, upload new file to – all attempts and combinations failed!

The app worked fine on a smaller tree (33 people) and the small sample tree.

My conclusion was that the app is not able to handle larger trees (or maybe there is something wrong with my tree on Any suggestions on how to fix gratefully received. For now however, I have removed the Ancestry app from my iPad.

UPDATE – updated the app on 20 November 2011. I have now installed the new version (Version 3.0.1) and it performs as expected.  My file loaded ok, displays ok, and shows matches with information held by Ancestry (census, electoral rolls etc).  For the updated version a PASS too!

GedView app

The other app I have tried is GedView 3.2.1 on my iPad, and a GEDCOM file from Brothers Keeper. This loads and displays fine. GedView costs a few dollars, and does not have all the features of Ancestry, but it works. The result of my trial of GedView 3.2.1 released on 20 October 2011 was a PASS. GedView has a pdf user manual that you can check.

GedView app

Description GedView is a viewer and recording tool for your genealogy database when you are out and about researching local records, or visiting locations such as graveyards looking for information.

You can quickly check up on family relationships, dates/locations of events, and record new information (including taking photos/video if your device supports it) anywhere and anytime you like without needing to worry if you have a (potentially costly) internet connection as all your data is held on your iPhone/iPod/iPad. You can even store multiple separate family trees if you haven’t established a link between groups of people.

No specific desktop application is required as standard GEDCOM files are used for importing your family tree. These can be encoded as ASCII, ANSI, ANSEL, UTF-8, or UTF-16 and can be added to GedView via WiFi, downloading from a website, via iTunes (iOS 3.2 or above), or even opened from other apps such as Mail, Safari, Dropbox etc.


8 thoughts on “Genealogy apps for iPad: Ancestry and GedView

  1. Chris,
    Sorry you had difficulties viewing your tree on the Ancestry app. Email me and we’ll see if we can figure out what’s going on.

    bneish at ancestry dot com

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