Thursday, January 13, 2011

I-PAD Observations for Genealogists: The Good and The Bad

The Apple I-Pad is proving to be an awesome tool and I want to share what I hope are a few useful tips and observations about its use. I am a new user but have been learning a lot, mostly by trial and error.


Having already been a user of the I-Touch, I figured it would be a snap to get the bigger I-Pad up and running but it was not quite that easy! Like any good student, I spent several days reading and learning before attempting to cable up to I-Tunes and get started. Back in December, while waiting for mine to arrive, I was listening to Rush Limbaugh on the radio one day. He was telling of a problem that he had trying to sync two new I-Pads while also using a new MacBook Air. It seems that when he plugged into the computer to set up the I-Pad everything was wiped off of the I-Pad. It went blank, no OS, no nothing. He told of spending hours on the phone with Apple before getting everything to work. I was concerned but didn’t think much about it at the time since I would not be using a new MacBook Air but my windows PC to do the initial setup and already had I-Tunes set up for my I-Touch. Fast forward to Jan 4th of 2011 as I was about to set my new I-Pad up: reading through my “News” on Facebook, I came across a then new post from Pat Richley Erickson of Dear MYRTLE’S Genealogy Blog fame. She also had problems when she first tried to connect and sync her new I-Pad. Several people added comments and offered advice and thankfully she got hers up and running without having to spend hours on the phone with Apple techs. I started looking at forums and tech blog posts for some more advice before start up. In the final analysis, it seems that most of the problems with new setup originate from not having the I-Tunes fully updated with the latest version. I personally suspect that I-Tunes may have or had a glitch somewhere that may have caused some people problems. Occasionally people do not allow their computers to automatically bring in new updates or they ignore update prompts because they are busy working on something and don’t want to take time at the moment to let I-Tunes update and then restart the computer, then may forget to go back and update it later. My advice is to be sure to update your I-Tunes BEFORE you begin. My next step was to set up the installation and I-Tunes installed all my apps, and music that I had checked with many being the ones I had used on the I-Touch. After all that was done I removed the I-Pad and then plugged into I-Tunes for the second time, it backed everything up and I upgraded to the new 4.2 OS. It worked great and not one glitch. If you have a new I-Pad and have not started using it yet or are waiting for delivery of a new one, do take the time to read the instructions and update I-Tunes, you will be glad you did. There are some nice video tutorials here and you can download the PDF or print a full manual for the I-Pad here. I always print manuals when I can for reference as I am just a paper person when it comes to those.

Most all the apps that are made for the I-Phone/Touch work on the I-Pad, however I find the 2x feature to enlarge those smaller screen apps leaving a lot to be desired in clarity. It is a typical feature of any picture which is enlarged more than originally intended—it goes slightly out of focus as in pixilation. It is very hard to use those apps if you intend to do a lot of reading but they do work. They can still be used in their original smaller format on the I-Pad, however I hope many will soon offer I-Pad only versions and especially the ones for our Genealogy. Reunion already offers and I-Pad version-kudos to them! Surely there will be more to come soon.

The other one thing that I believe is missing from the I-Pad is some kind of locking capability such as the Kensington lock slot that is found on most laptop computers. Even though we will usually carry this pad computer with us, the occasion might arise when I would like to be able to lock it to peruse a bookshelf or map drawer.


Now that it is up and running, I love it! The larger internal keyboard is quite easy to use even with fingers only. A gamer I am not but Solitaire is awesome as I used to play the old style and original real card type on occasion. Anybody else remember paper cards? If I am deep into researching and just need a short break, Solitaire gives me a bit of relaxation and then I can go back to the records with a fresh thought. Everybody needs some fun once in a while! There are several different apps for Solitaire, most are free.

As I mentioned before, the larger format of Reunion and others really is an improvement over the I-Touch/Phone apps. They include more features and it is so much easier on the eyes too. The I-Pad is a great ebook reader too and there are lots of apps for that such as Nook and Kindle and then with the new Google ebook app all those older and wonderful downloadable genealogy books that are available on Google can be in your purse or shoulder bag anytime.

If you are interested in genealogy and the I-Pad both, you might like to follow along with Dear MYRTLE on her blog as she reports from the Salt Lake Institute this week with remarks on the gathering there and about using her new I-Pad while in attendance.

Are you an artist or digital scrap booker? ArtStudio for the I-Pad is so much fun. In two nights I have drawn and designed several elements for use in my scrap booking. You can design and draw on a transparent png background if you like and then save or email it to yourself. I have included original “beauties” and even a hand drawn portrait of one of our dogs into my digital scrap library. Draw one- of- a- kind bits of artwork and include them on your own scrapbook pages for the Grandchildren. What is more personal than an original work of art or even a line drawing from Grandma? A hundred years from now, the picture will live on in that scrap page. You can be a creative artist or just a kid again and have fun while leaving a legacy too. The cost is reasonable at $4.99 for this awesome app. Flickr even has an ArtStudio gallery if you want to check out what can be done with this nifty app. Brvsh makes a brush stylus that is just perfect for ArtStudio and the Ten1 POGO sketch is one of the best stylus tools for everyday touch use on the I-Pad or I-Touch and also works well with ArtStudio. I find that your finger does a good job of drawing too with a bit of practice.

I have pictured a clip here on our blog of the apps which are available for GENEALOGY use and are made for the I-Pad specifically. Many more are available for the I-Touch/Phone which will also work. Some are better than others so be sure to read the entire description and all the reviews which I-Tunes offers for each one. Several are free and some cost a few dollars but most are reasonably priced. Families for Legacy has worked great for me so far and will be better when they upgrade to an I-Pad only app. Reunion works great in either type app although I did buy it separately again for the I-Pad in order to have a beautiful and clear picture and it does offer more functionality. (You can use your Reunion if you had it for the I-Pod/Touch but see the comments above under “The Bad” about using that.)

Family photos are awesome on the I-Pad. I had fun last night just flipping through several folders which I uploaded and viewed photos that I had not seen in some time. It is so easy and the pictures are beautiful on the I-Pad. Want another great way to take a break, relax and bring on a smile? Flip through an old picture album while curled up in your easy chair. Take just the ones you may want with you to the library for researching: no big album, no laptop to lug around- just you, your purse and your I-Pad. You even will have room left to sneak in a sandwich. There are apps for easy note taking so you don’t even need a paper tablet unless you want one!

Here are a couple cases for the I-Pad that I think you might like. I looked at several and choose the one from ZooGue and it works so nice and adjusts to ANY angle making it easy to view while sitting or laying down... and it is easy to use the internal keyboard with this case set at a slight angle or flat. I love it! ZAGG makes a really nice hard type case that you can check out here.

I put a simple scrapbook page on this post that I did of my Granddaughter and the bright flower within it is one that I drew with ArtStudio in a couple minutes. The dog is my portrait of my Babee while napping, also done with ArtStudio.

I hope all of you who have an I-Pad are loving it as much as I do. If you don’t have one yet…well, Valentine’s Day is soon! ♥♥♥

*Thank you so much to Ann's Scraps of Time for honoring us with the Ancestor Approved award! It is our third time and we appreciate all of our friends who follow along with The Grannies. We are truly honored...thank you, Ann.

You Go Genealogy Girl #2- Cheri


  1. Well aren't you talented??? Of course, not all of us are as artistic, but it's pretty cool! We'll be light weighters with your iPad and my IPod Touch when we got to Salt Lake City in a few months. Of course, that is the only thing light weight ... I'm sure Lil' Red will be dragging across Wyoming again. YGGG #1 -- Ruby

  2. I enjoyed this post. I bought one yesterday and I thought what you had to say was right on the mark!



Find a Grave

Search 31.6 million cemetery records at by entering a surname and clicking search: