Family Bee: Genealogy App for Android phones

by Scott Jangro on May 14, 2010

How many times have you been out visiting family and end up in a discussion about your family tree?  It doesn’t take too many generations back for the details of who’s who to become fuzzy and if you’re like my family, you end up spending more time trying to recreate the tree in your heads than having some more productive discussion around family history.

In any case, I like to have my family research with me wherever I am as I never know when I’ll need it.

iPhone owners have been blessed with a plethora of GEDCOM-viewing apps that have been available for years now.

Though if you’ve got an Android-based smartphone (like the Motorola Droid or the Google Nexus One) and have been feeling left out, there’s now a nifty application available that allows you to store and view one or more GEDCOM files, called Family Bee, available from Beekeeper Labs.

Family Bee is a simple GEDCOM viewer (not editor), which means you can store your GEDCOM file(s) in your Android phone and view any of the people in your tree in many different ways (more on that below). But you cannot edit and make changes. This is fine with me, as I’d prefer to be able to carefully make edits to my family tree information at the comfort of my computer keyboard.

Set up

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After purchasing it from the Android Marketplace and installing it, you’re prompted with three ways to import your GEDCOM file:

  1. Download directly from the web
  2. Email as an attachment
  3. Copy from the computer via USB

I chose the third option as it seemed the simplest, and it was. I copied my largest (and most bloated with inaccuracies) GEDCOM file downloaded fresh from Ancestry.com into the /familybee folder on my phone’s SD card.

 

Once this was done, Family Bee quickly loaded the file and displayed the list of people in my tree.

Using Family Bee

The first thing you see when loading Family Bee is a list of people in the GEDCOM. You can scroll through this list or search. Here I searched for the name SLADE.

family bee people

Once you choose a person, here Coralinn SLADE, you’re presented with the Family View.

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Next you can drill down to the details on a specific person in the Detail View

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And finally you can get in to the very specific details on any record such as Residence data, birth, death, etc. Virtually all information included in the GEDCOM source and notes fields are accessible.

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And for any person, you can view their list of descendants, here switching to someone way back with a big list, Abigail ADAMS.

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Switching to Tree View, you can navigate the entire tree by touching each box. Touching boxes on the right will move the tree to the right. Touching a box on the left will prompt you with a list of children to choose from.

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Family Bee should with with any Android phone. I scrolled through the comments in the marketplace and didn’t see any major issues with specific phones. It currently has a 4.5 star rating and virtually nothing but great reviews.

All in all, this is a very function GEDCOM viewer for the Android OS, and well worth the $10 price tag to always have my family tree in my pocket.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane Flynn May 14, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Very good, anything for the Blackberry?

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Scott Jangro May 14, 2010 at 4:16 pm

I don’t have access to a Blackberry phone, Diane, but I’ve never heard of a genealogy app for that phone/OS.

Reply

Taneya May 15, 2010 at 6:07 pm

Nice to know about this program. I wondered if you have roots in eastern NC? The Davenport & Slade surnames are prevalent there.

Reply

Scott Jangro May 16, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Hi Taneya.

These Slades are from Northfield, VT. I haven’t learned anything about the Davenports, though pretty much all of my ancestors seem to be from New England.

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