In Lisa Louise Cooke’s new video interview with Amy Crow, Amy shares 4 of her favorite free local history apps and websites for genealogists.
At RootsTech 2016, Lisa Louise Cooke chatted with Amy Johnson Crow about Amy’s class, “Best Websites and Apps for Finding Local History.” In the video below, Amy shares four of her favorite (and FREE) local history apps and websites, along with tips for using them. Click the video player below to watch, and then below the video, see a summary with links to those sites.
When searching the following FREE local history apps and sites, Amy recommends searching for a place rather than an ancestor’s name.
History Pin. This website is like Pinterest for history, says Amy. It’s especially strong for local history in England, Ireland, Scotland, but also wonderful for the U.S. A lot of organizations have added photos and curated them into collections, like Pinterest boards.
Instagram. It’s not just for the kids and pictures of your food! Follow libraries, archives and historical societies that are in towns where your ancestors lived. They may post historic photos from their collections. Instagram now has a feature where you can share photos with those you follow on Instagram. Use it to share a cool old picture that relates to your family history with a young relative.
The Clio. This website and local history app (available buy malaria medication online through Google Play and on iTunes for iPhone/iPad) shows you historic sites around you when you turn on your location services. The resources, descriptions and bibliographic entries on this site are great to follow up with for your research.
What Was There.At this site (or with the iPhone app) you can view historic photos plotted on a map near your current location. Use it to look around and ask the question, “What happened here?” if you’re on a walk or visiting somewhere. The site is integrated with Google Street View. You can also upload your own old photos if you know where they were taken and do an overlay in Google Maps, in much the same way Lisa teaches about doing in Google Earth.
“We focus so much on the people, and we search for names. I really believe that if we have any hope of understanding the ancestors, we have to understand where they lived…what was impacting their lives.” -Amy Johnson Crow
Looking for more mobile genealogy tips? Turn to Lisa Louise Cooke’s brand new book, Mobile Genealogy: How to Use Your Tablet and Smartphone for Family History Research. In addition to apps specifically for genealogy, you’ll also find recommendations for free and inexpensive apps for all those related tasks: note-taking, recording interviews, taking pictures, reading, collaborating, traveling, learning and sharing genealogy with loved ones.
The free MyHeritage app makes it easy to record oral history interviews with loved ones on your mobile device. Share these on your MyHeritage tree and even keep a copy of the audio file for yourself.
Oral history interviews are instant heirlooms. They capture not only a person’s memories, but the sound and nuances of their voice. You preserve the unique essence of the way they speak, like an accent, the way they turn a phrase or pronounce certain words.
The MyHeritage mobile app now offers the ability to record and share oral history interviews right from your mobile device. This is something Ancestry.com doesn’t offer (no uploading of video or audio at ALL, let alone a function that lets you record), which is why this caught my eye.
I did some homework so I can show you how to record and share oral histories with MyHeritage–and how to save the master file to your own computer, as Lisa so often recommends. (Click here to read why). Here’s the step-by-step:
1. From within the app, go to your family tree.
2. Open the individual profile for the person about whom you’re doing an interview.
3. You’ll see an audio icon (looks like a set of headphones–see image to the right). Tap it to create a new recording or to access previous recordings about that person.
4. The recording will automatically sync to your online tree, where other members of your family website can access and enjoy it. If you use Family Tree Builder, MyHeritage.com’s desktop software, it will sync to there along with other updates.
5. Save the audio file to your own computer. Log in to your MyHeritage family website. Go to that person’s individual profile. Look under the photo stream for that person for the audio file, which looks like this:
Click on the audio file icon. You’ll see this screen:
Click Download. The file will be downloaded to your computer as an .m4a filetype.
Remember, you can also upload any audio or video files created in the past to your MyHeritage family website, as well. MyHeritage say: “Scroll over the Photos tab and select ‘Add photos & videos.’ A black overlay will appear over the current page. You can drag & drop photos, videos, documents and audio files into the black overlay where it says ‘Drag photos & videos here.’ Alternatively, you can click the blue button ‘Select files’ and choose files from your computer.” Click here to learn more about using audio files on MyHeritage.
You will find more mobile genealogy gems like this one in Lisa Louise Cooke’s new book, Mobile Genealogy: How to Use Your Tablet and Smartphone for Family History Research. There’s an entire chapter on how to use free audio apps! Other chapters on apps for note-taking, file storage, photo, collaboration, travel, genealogy and sharing your family history will also help you make your mobile device a powerful genealogy tool.
There’s a new video tutorial on genealogy apps for Genealogy Gems Premium website members: “How to Find Essential Genealogy Apps for Genealogists.”
What are the best apps for genealogy? The ones that accomplish whatever you want to GET DONE. Like:
working on your family tree
translating an old church register
digitally restoring an old photo.
Having your mobile device read you an e-book or blog post (yes, you can do this for free).
But to make the most of the many mobile tools out there for the genealogist, you need to strategically look for them rather than hope you stumble across them. Because most of them aren’t conveniently marked “for the genealogist.”
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The How to Find Essential Genealogy Apps for Genealogists video is one of nearly 30 full-length video tutorials (and an Evernote mini-series tutorial) that you will have access to as a Genealogy Gems Premium Member. To learn more about membership, click here.)
Do you have a smartphone, iPad or tablet? Watch this free video lecture on how to use your mobile device for genealogy!
Lisa Louise Cooke is a leader in teaching the genealogical community how to get the most out of their mobile devices. Her first book, Turn Your iPad into a Genealogy Powerhouse, actually convinced me to buy an iPad–and then taught me how to use it, both for everyday tasks and specifically for genealogy. (Some of us over a certain age don’t automatically “get” how to use our mobile devices!)
Lisa gave a 30-minute class in the RootsTech Exhibitor Hall with several tips from her new book. She streamed the class live through Periscope, a free app available in the App Store or Google Play! Later she heard from Suzi: “Just wanted to say thank you and how much I enjoyed seeing you via Periscope during Roots Tech. I really enjoyed watching your presentations. You are always so up to date on the tech side of genealogy. It was so cool. I would hear a little whistle (a notification from the app that someone you follow is broadcasting live), click on my iPad and there you were! I am a long time listener to your podcasts and you always inspire me to keep searching. Thank you!!!”
Click on the image below to watch this video. And click here to download the free accompanying handout.
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