App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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The new Ancestry app has a sleek interface that brings the popular website directly to iOS users’ fingertips. Instead of constantly logging onto the computer to research family trees, it’s now possible to browse, edit, and discover family connections on-the-go.
When the app is used for the first time, users will either need to create a new Ancestry.com account or sign in with an existing one. Once inside the app, users can begin building their family tree or search over 11 billion records. Connecting a Facebook account helps users to create trees more quickly, but it’s not required.
The family tree is displayed on the main screen and features two views: family and pedigree. Pedigree view shows direct ancestors whereas the family view shows everyone else. Users have the option to create and view multiple trees, and each tree is navigated by pinching to zoom in and out or swiping to move around the tree.
When a tree is viewed, each person is displayed as a node. New person nodes can be tapped so family member can be added, while existing nodes can be tapped to reveal a side panel with additional personal information, life events, photos, records and more. Users can upload photos, correct dates and even include notes if they wish. Additionally, green leaves that are displayed on the nodes guide users to hints to help lead them to valuable records.
Searching through family trees is as simple as tapping on the three bar icon. It’s possible to type in the search bar to look for someone or pull up a filter to access direct ancestors, living relatives and recent hints.
One downside is that the free account only includes tree building and doesn’t include record access. A U.S. Discovery Membership will cost $19.99 while a World Explorer Membership is $34.99 a month. Furthermore, there are in-app purchases for things like birth, marriage and death certificates, and census lists. The other issue is that there is a lot packed into it so it’s easy to get lost. Tapping the back button or home button can help users navigate slowly, but getting deep into the app can lead to lots of tapping.
Overall, Ancestry is a nice addition for those who wish to have a different way to explore their family tree on their iOS device. The layout helps make things a little more organized and easier on the eyes. Anyone looking to build a family tree or have quick access to their ancestry account will want to consider it, but it’s not exactly a must-have app when it’s just as convenient and less confusing to login via a computer.