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Please begin with an informative title:

Summer! Time for long family roadtrips ... and, to the horror of many in our friendly little community, traveling companions may insist that there will be No Libriaries! No Courthouses! And Most Especially No Cemeteries!

If that ...shudders... is the prospect you are facing, do not despair! I can't imagine that there are similar restrictions on packing your trusty new e-reader ... which means you can quietly indulge in your family history obsessions without driving everyone else crazy! Join me below the fleur-de-kos to see how I've been making use of my own new toys while on the go.

Genealogy & Family History Community


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This isn't meant to be an endorsement of any particular brand of e-reader or application ... and I trust that our community will not engage in any neener-neener-mine-is-better-than-yours piefighting. I just thought it would be fun to exchange some tips and ideas for the various e-reader/tablet gadgets that no one leaves the house without these days. Just as a reference, I have been using a nook color for about seven months now, and recently purchased a bargain-priced HD+ ... which, like the Kindles, are basically low-end Android tablets. I'm focusing here on add-on tools that are free or really cheap, and which work without having to be connected to the internet via wifi at all times.

First off, I can't believe it took me seven months to realize that these things do screenshots. *bangs head on desk*  Seems like such a simple thing, but when you are doing idle web browsing at the coffee shop, it is really nice to be able to capture that amazing nugget of info you've been looking for months:

Screenshots!
For nook users, you do this by holding the "n" and the volume down button at the same time; screenshots on a kindle have their own process.

There are notes capturing apps out there that let you attach pictures/screenshots with "comments to self" ...

Screenshot sent to Catchnotes
many of these apps are free, but a lot of them want you to set up a cloud service account, which I find a little irritating. The Catchnotes app I use is no exception, but it does let me opt out of the cloud -- I can either keep the notes on the nook or send them to my email account. I believe there is a "One Note" app that corresponds to Windows One Note, but I haven't had time to research how it works...if you want it to sync with your home computer, it is likely going to need to be through a cloud somewhere.

Anyway, after I got over the joy of screenshots, I looked for an app that would help keep some of my specific research organized. Ancestry.com has an app, but that requires an account with Ancestry, and I think that means you'd need to be online for it to work (someone who knows better should feel free to tell me how wrong I am).  I found a free portable database that allows you to import a gedcom from your main genealogy database and work completely offline. While the full version of the app is only about $3, I wanted to see how the free version works and looks, and was pleasantly surprised. It allows you to make lots of notes, lets you attach pictures, gives you options to search by names, and displays pedigree charts and lines of descent. You can't add individuals, and it doesn't show dates of marriage (grrr), but it seems like a very handy tool. Here are a couple of screenshots:

FamilyGTG
Pedigree chart in FamilyGTG
I'd be interested in hearing about other apps any of you are using or have heard about--especially if you've found one that shows marriage dates (I mean, really that's one of the basic "facts" in most family trees)!

Finally, let us not lose sight of the fact that we are talking about e-reader devices here! We all know how wonderful all those old histories and genealogies are on google books. But what a colossal pain in the patoot they are to actually READ on a regular ol' computer or laptop. It is a pleasure to be able read those pdf files on my nook sitting in a comfortable chair with the screen at easy angle for my astigmatic eyes! However, the pdf reader that is standard with the average e-reader doesn't allow for highlighting and note taking on pdf files the way they do with books in other electronic format.

For just a few bucks, I found a tool for commenting on pdf files that I think is well worth it. Here is a screenshot of the commenting tools

Commenting tools in Repligo
It allows you to display the comments and notes you've made
Comments in Repligo
The cool thing is that you can export the marked up book back to your main computer, and the comments will be visible to you in Adobe Reader (or Acrobat Standard, if you have it):
Repligo comments exported back to Adobe Reader X
Well, that is enough from me for one diary; now it is your turn to share fun and useful ideas for researching on the go! My schedule is a little iffy today; I'll try to be around for early comments, but will have to duck out for a couple of hours after that.
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