Time to Graduate to a Smartphone?

A smartphone – why would I need a smartphone?
We never even use our land line.
I can remember a time when – if the phone rang at night – everyone froze.
A call at night could only mean one thing: bad news.

These days, I use my cell phone to send/receive calls and text messages.
Isn’t that enough?

Mom mastered the computer – she could send e-mail and was a wiz scanning and sending photos.
She was hi-tech.

Dad? Not so much.

Forty years ago, learning how to use a computer was a lot like learning to climb the sheer side of a cliff.

Tough, painful and scary.

I was sure I wouldn’t make it – but then, there we were at the top – and there was no going back. Tech has evolved, and is quickly taking us right along with it.

Do I really need a smartphone?
I decided it was time to find out.

My smartphone arrived this week.

First reaction: Wow – why did I wait so long!?
This is an amazing tool.

Easy to use.
It pulls all of my information together in one handy tool: e-mail, text, phone, photos, the Internet – everything.

Now – wherever I am – I am connected.

Phone quality is excellent.

But – could I read anything on it?
Turns out – I can.

When the GenealogyBank Blog post arrived in my inbox today – with one click I was reading it.

picture of a smartphone displaying a newspaper article

Source: Thomas Jay Kemp

Simple, easy and I could read it while sitting in the car waiting for my wife – I didn’t have to be home reading it on my laptop.
This is going to be handy – a real time-saver.

Would I be able to read a GenealogyBank newspaper article on my iPhone?

Turns out – I can!
Here is a marriage article I pulled up about one of my cousins.

photo of a smartphone

Photo: Thomas Jay Kemp. Source: Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas), 20 July 1952, section V, page 6

Wow – this is so clear and easy to read.
With a swoosh of my fingers I can easily enlarge or reduce the image.

Searching is a snap.

Going hi-tech is a lot of fun too.

How are you using your iPhone?

Related Article:

Top Genealogy Websites, Pt. 4: BillionGraves Smartphone App for Finding Graves

I recently wrote the article Top Genealogy Websites, Pt. 3: Burial & Cemetery Records, which included a discussion of BillionGraves.com. This handy website provides an app that can be used to find the burial site of a relative.

Let’s look into this a little more.

BillionGraves is a free Internet site that encourages genealogists, Boy Scouts and local cemetery buffs to take photographs of the tombstones in their local cemetery and upload the pictures online using the free BillionGraves app.

This is really easy to do.

Remember—you’ll need a Smartphone to take these cemetery photos or find a gravesite already photographed.

Why? Because BillionGraves not only adds the photo of each tombstone, it includes the GPS coordinates to the spot where that person is buried. It has harnessed technology to make it easy to permanently record the photograph—linked to the GPS data used by Smartphones—so that anyone can quickly find the tombstone. This nifty app makes it so much easier to find what cemetery—or where in that cemetery—someone is buried.

How does this work?

Watch this short video clip of Tom Hester showing how easy it is to do this.

How do you find a grave using BillionGraves?

What if you’re looking for a particular grave and there is no cemetery office? No sexton available? No map to cemetery burials?

We’ve all walked cemeteries for hours searching for our deceased relatives’ graves.

BillionGraves is changing that.

With BillionGraves you can quickly find out if someone has uploaded a photo of your ancestor’s grave. With its GPS feature, your Smartphone can lead you right to it.

Watch how “Casey and Jake” found the grave of their 8th-great-grandmother using the Smartphone app.

Harness the information in both BillionGraves and GenealogyBank and you can fill in the details of your family tree.

collage of records about Lionel Starbird from GenealogyBank and BillionGraves

Credit: GenealogyBank and BillionGraves

For example, let’s say you are researching your ancestor Lionel Starbird.

On GenealogyBank you can quickly find the core genealogical information about Lionel Starbird—his name, date of birth and date/place of death—and by searching for him on BillionGraves you can see a photo of his grave. Notice that BillionGraves links all of the photos in a family plot to his record.

It’s a great day for genealogy!

Read these other articles about top genealogy websites:

Top Genealogy Websites Pt. 1: Google

Top Genealogy Websites Pt. 2: Google Books & Internet Archive

Top Genealogy Websites Pt. 3: Burial & Cemetery Records