When I started with Ancestry nearly three years ago, I quickly discovered Find A Grave and have been a devoted user ever since. It’s an amazing resource for family historians, and the culture of volunteerism and helping fellow gravers is amazing. I will never forget the first astonishing act of requesting a photo for the grave of my 2nd Great Grandfather, Robert Euin Jr., and having that fulfilled by a very generous Find A Grave photo volunteer (thanks again Glenn!).
Last fall, Ancestry acquired Find A Grave and I was brought in to work alongside the founder, Jim Tipton, to see how Ancestry could lend its resources to ensure the continued growth and value of Find A Grave to the community. Jim is still with us, and we’ve been able to add a dedicated development team to Find A Grave. The first thing we wanted to do was put Find A Grave in the pocket of every genealogist, family historian, preservationist, or graver. Almost no other aspect of genealogy that I can think of could benefit more from having a mobile app than documenting cemeteries and graves.
Today we’re announcing the release of the Find A Grave app for iOS7. This app is just the first step for mobile Find A Grave, but I think it’s a pretty good one.
First of all, it’s free – just like Find A Grave. With the app, you’ll be able to bring the most important aspects of Find A Grave with you. You can see cemeteries near you or around the world, search for loved ones by name, take photos for existing memorials, or add new ones right from the app.
The app is beautiful and contains rich photos, and all of the memorial details that the website has, but with a modern view of the Find A Grave brand. One aspect of Find A Grave that I’ve always loved, is the ability to request photos and take photos for others. Not strictly required, I think this aspect of Find A Grave captures some of the best community spirit, and so we made sure to get this in our first release. As a logged in user, you can request photos for memorials, just like on the website, and the network of volunteers can see those requests and fulfill them directly, or claim them, in order to help plan their next cemetery outing.
For a list of features, I’d direct you to our glossy product page, but I did want to point out a few things before I go. First, this release is just the beginning and we have a road map of features for our users which will keep the Find A Grave mobile app improving over time. Second, we’re linking the Find A Grave mobile app to Ancestry’s peerless support team to make sure our users get the help they need in a timely fashion. Finally, we are planning our Android App as well, and though I don’t have a release date, Android is certainly not forgotten.
If you don’t have a smartphone, or want to just learn more about Find A Grave in general, you can still use findagrave.com as always, we’re just adding some new tools to this great web resource.
PS, I’d love to give a shout out to our outstanding new core team of developers who were able to swarm in and start running with Find A Grave. Lead by Robert Schultz, our developer team is John Mead, Shengzhe Chen, and Prasanna Ramanujam. The beautiful designs are a product of Jonathan Remulla.
About Michael Lawless
Michael is a Senior Product Manager for Ancestry.com
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