Genealogy Research,  Genealogy Tools

Searching For Ancestors? My Favorite Apps For Genealogy Research

Trace your ancestors using free smartphone apps! Explore the best and favorite free apps for genealogy for your phone and tablet.

The other day my cell phone did a normal update. It’s always a good thing, because I know the phone is running smoothly and will continue to function optimally.

I took the opportunity to assess the mobile apps on my cell phone to see what I no longer needed or used and could remove. [Digital clutter drives me crazy, but I did keep the WordScapes app!]

I realized many of the mobile apps I kept are for genealogy research. Interestingly, while I use genealogy specific apps, many of the apps are not genealogy specific. So, I’m sharing with you my favorite mobile apps for genealogy research.

Best of all, most, if not all are FREE! 😀 Remember, I am a frugal genealogy researcher!

Let’s get started!

Hand holding white cell phone with multiple apps on screen. Dark green text reading Genealogy Apps for you smartphone.
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My Favorite Genealogy Specific Apps

I’ll start with the apps that are actually specific to genealogy and family history research.

The App

This is one of the only genealogy specific apps I use on my cell phone. is a database I use almost every time I research ancestors. I also have my online family tree there, so it makes sense to have the app on my phone.

When I need to do a quick check of facts on my family tree or check a resource database, it is quick, easy and at my finger tips.

The FindMyPast App

I’m digging into my British roots a lot lately, so it makes sense I would have the FindMyPast app on my phone. With records on both sides of the ocean, FindMyPast is a must for my research. Being able to access their databases quickly and easily is a must and great when I’m waiting in line for something!

Learn more about FindMypast and their records in these recent videos:

For genealogy specific mobile apps, that’s pretty much it. If I am traveling, I will add the FindAGrave app and the BillionGraves app.

Again, digital clutter is distracting, so I do not keep apps on my phone all the time if I use them less frequently. Really, it is just personal preference.

Cell hone display of apps

My Favorite Non-Genealogy Specific Apps

The non-genealogy mobile app list is much longer. 🙂

Google Drive

I organize most of my genealogy files and my business life using Google Drive. I keep this app on my phone and on my tablet and everything syncs nicely with my laptop.

Google Keep

Google Keep is a note taking app. It’s where I jot down thoughts, take notes at conferences and even keep my grocery list. Having the ability to tag and color code notes. makes retrieving them later much easier. I also like the ability to share a note with others.


Photomyne is a photo scanning app that is easy and quick to use. It’s perfect for on the research or taking to a relative’s house to scan photos. You’ll love the ability to scan whole pages at a time of photo albums. [Photomyne is a paid app with several payment tiers.]

Learn more about what I love about Photomyne in Preserve Your Family Photos…Preserve Your Family History.


I have been using Trello to create and organize my genealogy research plans for sometime now. Having those research plans available makes impromptu research trips possible. No more rushing around trying to figure out what I am supposed to be researching. It’s all right there.

Some fellow genealogy researchers prefer to Asana which has a fabulous mobile app as well. I’ve used both and like them both.

cell phone with time and multiple apps


You will love the Pocket app. It will allow you to bookmark articles you want to read later when you have time. I often find genealogy articles and posts I want to return to later. Before Pocket, they would disappear into the black hole of my bookmarks. 😳

With the Pocket app, I can pull one up and read it when I have a few minutes. It’s perfect for when you have to wait for an appointment.

Google Maps

Of course, a good map app is essential! How else will we find those old family cemeteries and the archives?!

A Voice Recorder

I keep a Voice Recorder app to record quick notes to myself. This works really well when I’m struck with inspiration while on my daily run.


I recently discovered the Voxer app, and it’s become one of my favorites. Voxer turns you cell phone into a walkie talkie and let’s you exchange voice and text messages quickly and easily. It has a web based version, too. I offer the use Voxer for the VIP Genealogy Intensive Day.

The Starbuck’s App

I admit it….I like coffee. Perhaps a bit too much. ☕ Sometimes you just need a pick-me-up after a long session of research. Starbucks is also where I get my morning coffee when I attend conferences.

There you have it – my favorite mobile apps for genealogy research!

Most of the apps are free (some have a paid version) and available for Android or iOs devices. With the exception of the Voice Recorder sync across all of my devices.

Continue the Learning!

Learn about the research tools I keep in my genealogy toolbox in this video –

Other Posts of Interest:

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  • Janet Seegmiller

    What’s the difference between Photomyne and Photoscan? One any better than the other? Thanks for the great resources. Janet

    • LisaL

      I’ve not had much experience with PhotoScan by Google. I like PhotoMyne because I can scan multiple images at once and the program will separate them out. Photoscan only allows you to scan one at a time.

  • Bev


    Do you have a post on how you use Trello for a research log? I cannot figure that app out when some people I know swear by it. I don’t know what Kanban planning cards are. What I really want is a tool to let me plan recurring tasks like “check this database monthly for updates” or “read society newsletters” on Sundays or check for new DNA matches every other week”. Some of the things on your “tasks you can do in fifteen minutes” are good recurring tasks. I want to check them off and have it rescheduled when the next instance is due. Can Trello do that?

    Thanks, Bev

  • William Seward

    I also use Evernote. It can serve for several of the separate apps you list. It also syncs across devices.
    As far as digital clutter goes, I sort all my apps into folders so my home screen only has a few icons on it, but my genealogy folder has those apps, etc. ready to use. Like you say, though, easy enough to re-download many apps to use in the moment, unless you have to do some sort of log-in and are storing info in those apps. Then you have to start from scratch every time.

  • Kay Bobbitt

    I like microsoft To Do for making lists. Syncs with my laptop. Make different lists with sub-lists, color each list or add a background.
    Put it right on my home page.

  • Jean

    Is there a charge for any of the above? I didnt see one but cant afford one…Thanks for all the info I have recieved from your posts… Jean

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