by Sherry Stocking Kline written for Wichita Eagle’s Active Life Magazine – December 2008 (and just in case Santa is reading this, I’d still like to have this in my Christmas Stocking!) If you’ve ever been at a cemetery, library, or family gathering and wished you had your whole family tree in your shirt pocket or purse, you may want to ask your favorite Santa to leave the Pocket Genealogist Software in your Christmas stocking this year. Laura Phillips and her husband Kevin are the developers, owners, and tech support people for the Pocket Genealogist, a nifty little software package that will let you carry around up to a quarter million family members (plus photographs) on your PDA or smartphone, support GPS latitudes and longitudes, calculate dates, Soundex, add data, and search for individuals or places.
Carry Your Family Tree with You…
Phillips said that her husband, Kevin, got frustrated while trying to organize his family tree information to go on an out-of-state trip to visit family. He wanted to carry his whole family tree on his PDA (personal digital assistant) and leave his laptop at home. “He couldn’t find a program that would do what he wanted it to do,” said Laura Phillips, business manager and self-proclaimed “dummy tester” of Northern Hills Software’s Pocket Genealogist, “his standards are pretty high. So he put together a program to do what he wanted it to do.”
Software works on Windows Mobile Smart Phones & PDA’s
According to Phillips and the www.pocketgenealogist.com website, the software will run on any Windows Mobile Software, and depending on your PDA’s memory, the program can hold up to a quarter million individuals, allow you to view photographs, calculate those tricky ‘how-are-we-related anyway’ questions, and enter data for transfer back to your desktop computer. “You won’t get a free cell phone that is capable of running this software,” Phillips said.
Decide What Uses Before You Buy!
So before you buy a phone or PDA, you need to decide how you want to use it and what software you want to run and then purchase the smart phone or PDA that will do what you need it to do. Phillips said the Pocket Genealogist won’t work on IPhones, Blackberry’s or PDA’s that use the Palm Operating System. (Phillips said that the Gedstar Pro software program will work with Palm Operating systems.) Besides English, Pocket Genealogist supports nine languages and will import directly from Legacy Family Tree without conversion to a GEDCOM. Phillips said that it also “works with anything that adheres to the GEDCOM standard, including Family Treemaker, The Master Genealogist, and Roots Magic
Desktop In Your Pocket?
“We try to mirror the experience that you have with your desktop,” Phillips said, and added a reminder to software users to “back up” their information. “Your system is getting hauled around everywhere,” Phillips said, “so it’s important to back up your PDA’s information, just as you would a desktop computer.” Phillips said that Pocket Genealogist is very easy to navigate and has a very low learning curve, making it easy for new users. “I’m considered the dummy tester,” Phillips said, “if I can read the manual and make it work, we figure anybody can.”