On This Day Widget

On This Day Widget, GedStar Pro Android App, as seen on my Android phone and tablet.

Every morning my smart phone displays a list of my ancestors and relatives who were born, married or died on that day. The daily reminder is an interesting and fun feature. How does my phone do that?

I am using the On This Day Widget, an add-on feature for the GedStar Pro for Android app. GedStar Pro is my genealogy-on-the-go app that lets me view my genealogy data on my Android smart phone and tablet wherever I go. This home screen widget was released this past June and is $2.99, available from the Android app store under GedStar On This Day Widget.

There are several features of the On This Day Widget:

  • Configure the widget to select which events to include (births, deaths, marriages).
  • Tapping on an individual’s name will take you right to that person in the GedStar Pro database.
  • Tap on the calendar icon to view the events for any day you choose.

Below is a list of my ancestors that had vital events on 7 September, today’s date. I blacked out the last names of a couple living relatives.

Barbara Barhtel, 1789 (223 years)
Anna Barbara Pflueger, 1817 (195 years)
Hazel Virginia Nussbaum, 1907 (105 years)
Catherine Louise N, 1967 (45 years)
Brett S, 1969 (43 years)
Megan Maye W, 1983 (29 years)

Ursula Barbara Schinnerer, 1836 (176 years)
Georg Wilhelm “William” Joseph Schinnerer, 1963 (49 years)

Ernest Miles Whiteman & M. Alda Beohm, 1904 (108 years)
Virgil G. Theurer & Mary P. Schmidt, 1918 (94 years)

It is interesting to see the names each day. I find I have forgotten some of the names, so it is a good review of my database.

You need to have the GedStar Pro app installed on your Android phone or tablet to use the On This Day Widget. The GedStar Pro app allows you to view all of your genealogy data on your Android phone or tablet. This makes all of your genealogy data portable.

The app will run on a standard Android device, from version 2 through the latest version 4, Ice Cream Sandwich. You get the app from the Google Android Market, so your device must have access to that market. You get a free trial for up to 28 days and then you can purchase the genealogy app for $9.95. 

The process of getting your data onto your phone or tablet is fairly simple. You can directly import data from The Master Genealogist and Legacy Family Tree or import a GEDCOM file for all other genealogy programs.

First download the Windows GedStar Data Converter from the GHCS Software website onto your computer or laptop. Just make sure you have the latest version of the converter on your PC [if you already have this on your PC] and that your phone app is up to date for the widget to work. It is in the Data Converter that you determine what data you want to include from your genealogy file. Options include including photos and all your notes.

I use the Roots Magic genealogy program, so my first step was to make a GEDCOM of my genealogy database, name it with a recognizable name and save it. Next, open the GedStar Pro Converter on your PC, select the saved database and chose the data options desired for your device. I always check the box “Copy output file to Dropbox folder”. This is the easiest way to get the converted genealogy file onto my Android device.

Be sure you have installed the free Dropbox software on your PC and Android device. Your converted database goes into the “cloud” and when you open the file in the Dropbox app on your phone the data will go right into GedStar Pro. Dropbox makes this whole process so simple.

GedStar Pro app as it looks on my Android phone and tablet.

The GedStar Pro app is for Android devices only. It is not available for the iPhone or iPad and will not work on the Nook. However, I did manage to install GedStar Pro on my Kindle Fire. It was a real challenge but I eventually won that battle. The one detail I was missing was knowing which file to copy from my phone to my PC. It turns out was the APK file.

I won’t detail all the steps to sideload an app onto the Kindle Fire here unless I get requests for it. I found several how-to pages with a Google search. The GHCS Software website also gives some details about installing GedStar onto the Kindle Fire.

GedStar Pro is strictly a viewer. You cannot edit or add to the information in the GedStar app, which it is just fine with me. The important thing is to be able to carry and view my data on a compact device. When I edit in Roots Magic I just repeat the steps above and copy the new database onto my phone.

I love technology! No more dragging a briefcase full of binders with family group sheets and other data to the library to research. Now I simply take my phone or my tablet, equipped with my genealogy app.

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