The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
Genealogists using any Android or Apple handheld computers or cell phones have a number of genealogy programs to choose from. I have written reviews in the past of FamilyBee, FamViewer, GedStar, MobileTree, Shrubs, GedView, Families, Reunion, RootsMagic App for iPhone, and other programs. These allow a genealogist to carry his or her entire database in a shirt pocket or purse at all times.
Most of these programs require creation of a GEDCOM file and then using that to create the database for the Android or iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch app although there are some exceptions. For those that require GEDCOM files, you have two different methods of copying data from a desktop computer to the handheld. I would term these as (1.) the easy way and (2.) the hard way. I am a firm believer in using the easy way of accomplishing most any task.
Both methods require the user to first create a GEDCOM file from the desktop genealogy program of choice. All of today's modern genealogy programs have the capability of creating GEDCOM files, including Reunion, RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, The Master Genealogist, MacFamily Tree, Family Tree Maker, Ancestral Quest, Branches, and many others. Generating the GEDCOM file should be easy. Copying the GEDCOM file to the iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch may be either easy or complex, depending on the method selected.
The EASY METHOD of copying GEDCOM files to these devices typically requires the user to upload the GEDCOM file to a web server, then open the genealogy program on the handheld device (FamilyBee, FamViewer, MobileTree, Shrubs, GedView, or whatever program is installed), establish a connection to the Internet, and specify the full URL of the GEDCOM file stored on the net. Then the genealogy program downloads the file and imports it. The process is simple, but the user obviously needs to first be able to store files on a web server someplace. We’ll get to this in a bit.
The DIFFICULT METHOD usually involves copying the GEDCOM file to a Windows or Macintosh computer. It means configuring network software and installing file server software on a desktop computer to share certain files or folders with other computers on the same network. The instructions for doing this will vary, depending on the operating system you use (Windows XP, Vista, Macintosh, etc.), but the process is never trivial. Most iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch programs require the user to install and configure Bonjour networking software, a non-trivial task for anyone who does not have a system administrator background. The process on Android devices can be equally complex.
I would strongly suggest that you always use the EASY METHOD of copying the GEDCOM file to a web server, then downloading from that web server to the handheld computer. The process is far, far simpler. "But wait!" you exclaim. "I don't have access to a web server."
I would further suggest that you probably do already have access to a web server. If not, you can obtain such access within a few minutes at no charge. Even better, this free access will also provide other valuable services for you.
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