Help File V1.1
Welcome to The Family Nexus app for iPhone! We are so happy you have decided to learn more about your ancestors and the places that were significant in their lives. Our goal is to make it fun and easy to make new discoveries about your ancestors!
Whether you are new to family history or a seasoned researcher, we believe seeing your ancestors in the context of geography can provide new insights in to their lives. Come along with us on a journey of discovery and feel connected to your family like never before!
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The Family Nexus app for iPhone is FamilySearch Certified. By logging in with your free FamilySearch account we can automatically download your family tree for you! This has the added benefit of being able to learn about your family history with minimal work on your part.
As a FamilySearch Certified app we have undergone a rigorous review process to ensure we are handling your family tree data securely and accurately.
“The “FamilySearch Certified” designation is simply used to identify software applications that FamilySearch International (“FamilySearch”) believes to be generally compatible with FamilySearch.org or one or more of FamilySearch’s application programming interfaces. FamilySearch, however, takes no responsibility and is in no way liable for any such application. Accordingly, FamilySearch in no way warrants that any application associated with the “FamilySearch Certified” designation will function as intended, is free from harmful or undesirable aspects, or is free from errors.”
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You can start using the app immediately even while we continue downloading your Family Tree data!
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The very first time you login we begin downloading information from your FamilySearch Family Tree to your mobile device. We climb the tree and collect basic information about your ancestors and their families. For example, we start by collecting information about you, your spouse, your children, your siblings, and your parents. Then we move to your parents and collect information about their siblings and parents. We climb the tree for 6 generations, all the way to your 4th great-grandparents. We also get parent information at the “top” of the tree as well. This means, that we download 7 generations of your direct line ancestors (your 5th great-grandparents)! For most of our users the earliest ancestors we download were born over 200 years ago. And The Family Nexus app for iPhone makes it available to you at your fingertips!
We do the same thing for your spouse’s family tree as well. This way both of you (and your children!) can enjoy this app from a single device.
Progress of the download is displayed at the top of the screen.
Premium subscribers can download additional family members to the device – 4 generations beyond the 6 generations that the free users get!
For each individual in your family tree we collect the following basic information about their lives as stored in FamilySearch:
- Full name
- Family Search Person ID
- Birth date and Birth place
- Marriage date and Marriage place (only your direct-line ancestors, so if your grandmother was married more than once we only download the information about her marriage to your grandfather).
- Spouse’s name
- Death date and Death place
- Burial date and Burial place
After we download this data we go a step further. We take the places associated with each of these significant life events and we geocode them. This means we take the information about the event location and we tie that to specific geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude). We store this location in the app and use it to plot all these life events on an interactive Google Map.
We use sophisticated algorithms to try to identify the correct location where it took place. However, if the data in your FamilySearch Family Tree is not “standardized” we may have trouble identifying the correct location. When this happens, you will see an icon like this to show that we don’t know where this took place. Usually the location is incomplete or uses abbreviations we couldn’t recognize. In this case, you may want to go back to FamilySearch and correct the data. Once you have made corrections in FamilySearch, you can Refresh the data in The Family Nexus app for iPhone and see if we were able to plot the location! You can refresh by pulling down on the screen from the Person Details and releasing.
You will notice that we put a map pin in the center of the most specific place name provided for an event. If your great-grandmother was born in “Pike County, Kentucky” we will place a map pin in the geographic center of Pike County. If your FamilySearch data indicates she was born in “Prestonsburg, Floyd, Kentucky, United States” we will place a map pin in the center of the town of Prestonsburg.
The Map View is your main window in to the lives of your ancestors. It is fun and easy to navigate and explore the places where your ancestors lived and died.
You can zoom in and out by using the familiar pinch gesture. Pinch inward to zoom in and pinch outward to zoom out. Zooming in will allow you to see more details about the area, while zooming out helps you see the “bigger picture.”
To move around the map simply drag your finger across the screen. Dragging from left to right moves the map so you see what is over to the left (West). Dragging from top to bottom moves the map so you can see what is to the North, and so on.
Whenever you are in the Map View the “Locate Me” icon will appear in the lower-right corner of the map. This is the stylized compass rose that is The Family Nexus icon. Just tap it to center the map on your current location!
Map Pins and Clusters
As you explore the map you will see red map pins indicating that a life event of one of your family members took place in that location. You will also see colorful circles with numbers in them. The circles are called “Clusters,” and are used to “de-clutter” the map.
If multiple life events took place in the exact same location we display that by using a cluster. This helps you know that there is more than one event in that location, because otherwise the pins would literally be stacked on top of one another.
In addition, if there are lots of events in the same area, we group those together in to clusters as well so that the map pins don’t overlap. This cluster is located in the center of all these events.
As you zoom in and out you will see the numbers in the clusters getting larger or smaller. You will also notice that the numbers may move, either grouping together with other nearby groups (as you zoom out) or separating to give more details (as you zoom in). You may even see an individual red map pin separate out from the group as you zoom in.
This is a fun way to see concentrations of your ancestors’ life events! You may be surprised at some of the locations where many of your ancestors were from!
Tapping a Pin or Cluster
Don’t stop exploring just by looking at the map, however. Tapping a map pin will open an “Event Card” and display information about the life event that took place in that location! At the top of the Event Card we show the type of event (such as birth or marriage), the location, and the date. Below that we show the person’s name and life span. We also show the person’s portrait if it is available in FamilySearch!
In the upper right corner of the Event Card you will see the Share icon. Tap this to share the Event Card on Social Media including Facebook and Twitter!
Tapping a Cluster shows a list view of all the events that are grouped in that cluster. Tapping on a result in the list view will then display the Event Card just as it would if the event were by itself (and not in a cluster).
If you want to learn even more about a particular person simply Swipe up on the Event Card to view the Person Details. From this view you can see the Birth, Marriage, Death, and Burial information about this individual. The currently selected life event (if any) will appear in green instead of red.
You can tap the FamilySearch Person ID (shown in red text) to go to the FamilySearch website to see more about that person. From the FamilySearch site you can edit details as well. When you return to The Family Nexus app for iPhone you can refresh that person’s data by pulling down on the screen and releasing from the Person Details view.
You can explore even more from this view! Next to the location details associated with each event you will see either a red map pin, or a gray “crossed out” map pin. If there is no location information at all you will just see 2 dashes (this could be an opportunity for you to add this information in FamilySearch!). Tapping on an event with a red map pin will take you back to the map view with that event location centered on the map. The Event Card will also reflect the life event you tapped on.
If your ancestor was married, the app also displays the spouse’s portrait and name. The spouse’s name is a link. Tapping it will display that individual’s Person Details.
You may see a small “i” in a circle next to the Marriage information. This simply means that FamilySearch has multiple details associated with this marriage event. We are displaying the most recent change, but you can go to FamilySearch to see the other dates and places associated with this marriage event.
Tap the “Back” arrow at the top of the screen to go back to the map with the currently selected event centered on the map.
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The Family Nexus app for iPhone lets you share your exciting discoveries with your friends and family on Facebook or Twitter. From the Person Details simply tap on the “Share” icon, and choose the Facebook or Twitter logo. Then type your message and Post!
Using the #TheFamilyNexus hashtag helps join the conversation with other users making discoveries using The Family Nexus app as well!
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Subscribers can access some premium features from the Details view. This includes “Quick Map Filters,” “Family,” and “Memories.” Read more about these in the Premium Content section below.
Tap the Search bar at the top of the screen to search for a Person or a Place. When you tap the Search bar you will see a toggle switch appear to let you select between searching for a Person or a Place by tapping on one or the other. The selected option is highlighted in blue. The default search is for a Person.
Search for Person
To search for a person simply type all or part of their name in the Search bar. Remember we are matching your search criteria with the name as it is stored in FamilySearch, so there may be some spelling differences. If you can’t find someone right away, try to broaden your search by looking for just the first or last name. Capitalization is ignored. Spaces are treated as wildcards.
Any matching results will appear in the results list displaying information about the Person, such as their portrait (if available), full name, and life span. Tap the one you want and you will be taken to the Person Details. From here you can explore their life events as described above.
Search for a Place
To search for a place type the location in the Search bar. You can type as much or little as you would like to find a particular location. Usually it is best to type more than just the city name to better identify the place you are looking for. We use the Google Map search engine to identify the places, so the experience should be familiar to most of our users.
After typing in your search criteria, hit return or tap the Search icon and then select the correct location for the matching results. The map will then change with the selected location in the center of the map. Any life events in the area will appear as usual.
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The Family Nexus app for iPhone brings your family history to your fingertips, and makes it easy to discover things you didn’t know! One of the coolest features is the alerts or notifications the app gives you about life events. There are two types of notifications: location-based and date-based.
Whether you are traveling cross-country or just headed to work, the app can notify you when you get close to a life event of someone from your family tree. In Settings you can determine how far away you are when you get the alert.
There are two different icons displayed for location-based notifications for single events and multiple events. If there is a single event that took place in a particular place, you will see a map pin icon. The alert will show a small message indicating the person and the event that took place. Tap the message to explore and learn more. It will take you immediately to the Event Card with the specific event location centered on the screen. Don’t forget from here you can Share this on social media or swipe up to learn even more about this family member!
If multiple events occurred in the same place you will see the multiple event icon which has many circles on it. It will show how many events took place at the given location. Tapping this will take you to that location on the map with a list view of all the individual events. This works just like it does when tapping a cluster on the map. Tap a single event from the list to see the event card.
From the menu you can see a list of all the Notifications you have received, if you want to come back to them later. From the Notifications list you can swipe to the left to delete a notification from the history.
If you live near where many of your ancestors did you don’t want to get annoyed by the same alerts every time you run out for milk and eggs. In Settings, you can also choose to turn off or “Mute” location-based notifications within a certain distance of your home.
In addition, the app will notify you if a particular event occurred on this day in your family history. Just like the location-based notifications, the alert will give you a summary of the person and the event that took place in your family history. Tapping the notifications takes you to that event (or person details if no standardized location is available).
What a great way to spend just a few minutes each day learning a little more about your ancestors!
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The so-called “hamburger menu” provides quick access to several features. At the top you will see your name and a portrait thumbnail (if available from FamilySearch). It also shows how many family members have been downloaded to your device.
Below this is a button that says “Invite Facebook Friends.” When we find something cool and valuable we want to share it with others! Tap this button to select Facebook friends to download The Family Nexus app. After selecting friends, you can type out a message to go with the invitation.
- Main Map – this takes you back to the Map View
- Manage Subscription – Purchase a subscription or see your current subscription and expiration date.
- Filter Controls – Go to the Filter Controls. Same as tapping the icon from the Map view or Details view.
- Notifications – This is the “Notifications History,” a list of all the notifications you have received. A pin icon means it was a single location-based notification, series of circles represents multiple location-based events, and a calendar icon means it was a date-based notification. Tap one anytime to explore this fact again.
- Settings – Adjust your own preferences for things such as notifications and zoom level.
- Help – Access to this help guide!
- Feedback – Takes you to our Feedback page on TheFamilyNexus.com. Here there is a web form to provide feedback directly to us. For example, send us props for a job well done, a bug report, or an enhancement request.
- Logout – Tap this to logout of the app. You will be required to login again with your FamilySearch credentials when you open the app again.
Tapping on Settings from the Menu reveals some important options. Let’s talk about each one.
“Notify me when I’m this close”
This setting allows you to choose a radius of 1 to 100 miles to trigger alerts of nearby life events of your ancestors. Just slide the red circle left or right to adjust the distance. If you set it at 25 miles, for example, you will get an alert whenever you are 25 miles away from a life event! The exception to this is if you are within your “Home region.” The default setting is 10 miles.
“Mute this distance from Home”
The “Mute…” slider creates an “alert shield” around your home location where no location-based notifications will be received. If you slide it all the way to 0 miles you will get all notifications. Likewise, if the “Mute” distance is greater than or equal to the “Notify me…” distance you won’t get any notifications.
NOTE: The app uses “significant change” data rather than tracking your precise GPS location, so there could be some discrepancy or delay in notifications.
The purpose of the “Mute” setting is so you don’t get bothered by alerts every time you leave the house to run an errand. You might want to turn this to 0 miles to begin with, and then gradually increase it after you have become familiar with all the events that took place near your home.
This setting does not affect the date-based notifications.
This button is extremely important. It allows you to tell the app where your home location is. This is only stored on your local device and is never shared with anyone! You can make any location your “Home.” This becomes the center point from which the “alert shield” extends.
Tap the button and it will take you to a map. Centered on the map is your current location. This works best if you are already at home. Simply tap the map pin icon on the right and it will place a pin in the middle of the map. If you are at home, and you haven’t moved the map around, your current location will already be in the center. You can also move the map around until the desired location is centered. To move the map pin, tap and hold the pin then drag to the desired location.
When you are done tap “Save Home” to save and return to the Settings screen. Or tap the back arrow if you want to leave without saving.
The Data Manager section provides a statistical snapshot of the data being managed on your device. It also allows Premium members to download additional data. If the app is currently downloading data you will see the activity type and the progress bar displayed here under “Current Download Progress.”
This shows the number of generations back from the user that have been downloaded to the device. Free users get 6 generations of ancestors and their siblings and parents (so technically you get the 7th generation of direct-line ancestors, too)! It also lists the total number of individual family members (including spouses) that have been downloaded, the number of life events, and the total number of unique places associated with those people and events.
Additional Family Members:
Premium members can download additional ancestors. At this time you can download an additional 3 generations of ancestors. In addition you can request parents and siblings of a particular family member “on demand.” To do this, simply open the Parents & Siblings subtab of the Family section of a particular ancestor’s detail view. Then pull down and release. The app will go out to FamilySearch and fetch the parents and siblings of that individual!
Premium members can also download descendants. For now, you are limited to first cousins of your direct-line ancestors. These are the children of your ancestors siblings. We may provide more options in the future.
Make your selection, then tap “Download” to begin downloading additional family members!
You can learn more about how to get the most out of The Family Nexus app by accessing our other online resources.
The Family Nexus Blog: In The Family Nexus blog I cover a variety of topics related to family history. I try to make them interesting and educational.
Facebook page: Keep up to date on the latest happenings with The Family Nexus. Like our Facebook page and come back to visit often.
Twitter account: A new tweet goes out whenever a new blog article is posted. I also retweet other interesting posts about genealogy.
YouTube Channel: Educational videos about specific features and how to edit your FamilySearch Family Tree to get the most out of the app
Our Premium Features offer even more amazing ways to learn about your ancestors and they places important in their lives. These features can be unlocked by purchasing a subscription and becoming a premium member. 1-month, 3-month, 6-month, and 1-year subscriptions are available for about 10 cents per day!
Download Additional Family Members
See the section above to learn more about downloading additional family members.
Family Groups and Family Photos & Stories
Version 1.1 is also FamilySearch Certified to download Memories for each of your ancestors. Rather than download all these at once (and take up lots of space on your device), these are downloaded “on demand.” When you tap on the Memories tab it will request the photos, documents, stories, and audio files linked to that ancestor on FamilySearch. You can tap an individual photo to see a larger version. Any stories that have been uploaded can be viewed under the “Text” tab. Tap on an item to read all the text. You can also listen to audio right within the app!
This is a great way to get to know your ancestors even better. Now after getting an alert you can learn about their family, and see pictures right from within The Family Nexus app!
At this time it is not possible to add new Memories from the app. We recommend you use the FamilySearch Memories app for this!
Map layers is a cool new feature which gives you more insight into places of interest on the Map. This is particularly useful if you are taking a trip to visit an area. Simple tap the map layers icon in the lower-right of the Map View to display the toggle controls. You can turn on or off the following map layers:
- Places of Worship (churches, synagogues, etc.)
- Government Offices
We plan to add some enhancements to this feature in the future.
Filter controls allow Premium subscribers to fine tune the events that appear in the map view. This feature is packed with power. Let’s go through each of these one by one.
Most of the filter control options require you to select a family member as a starting point. Simply tap the magnifying glass to search for a family member. With one of your ancestors selected you can now customize which life events appear on the map. Simply toggle on or off the various options. Regardless of the options you select the life events of the selected person will always be shown.
The first options let you choose which ancestors’ events are shown. Turning these on will result in the following life events appearing on the map.
A Note About Preferred Relationships: If an individual has multiple spousal or child-parent relationships in FamilySearch the relationship marked as “Preferred” is downloaded and stored in The Family Nexus app.
Father’s Paternal Line: The selected family member’s father’s father’s direct line ancestors
Father’s Maternal Line: The selected family member’s father’s mother’s direct line ancestors
Mother’s Paternal Line: The selected family member’s mother’s father’s direct line ancestors
Mother’s Maternal Line: The selected family member’s mother’s mother’s direct line ancestors
Turning this on will show all descendants of the selected person that have been downloaded to the device. Note that, except for your direct line, only 1 generation of descendants of your family line will generally be downloaded (this would be the first cousins of your direct line).
Show Parents: The selected family member’s parents
Show Siblings: Brothers and sisters of the selected family member
Show Spouse(s): The selected family member’s spouse. Currently only the preferred spouse is shown.
Show Children: Children of the selected family member that have been downloaded to the app.
Note that you can choose any combination of these toggles, and that they are additive. Think of each option as creating a set of people and life events. The final result will be the union or aggregate of all these sets. For example, if you choose to show Father’s Paternal Line and Father’s Maternal Line, but have Show Parents OFF, the map will show:
- Life events of the selected person
- NO life events of the selected person’s father and mother
- Life events of the selected person’s paternal grandparents and their ancestors
Life Events Filter
This one is pretty straight forward. Simply choose which types of life events you want to appear on the map. Let’s say you wanted to visit cemeteries and look for headstones. It could be very useful to turn off the birth, marriage, and death places and only show burial places on the map!
The Life Events Filter does NOT require that you select a family member first.
If you want to only display certain events that occurred during a certain time range, first switch the Date Range toggle to ON. The dates that appear are the earliest and latest dates stored in the App for your ancestors. You may either type in beginning and end dates or use the slider to adjust the dates.
The Date Range Filter does NOT require that you select a family member first.
Quick Map Filters
One great feature is the “Quick Map Filter.” Let’s say you are exploring a particular ancestor from their Details View and you want to customize the map to only show family members of this ancestor. Simply tap the “Quick Map Filters” and select one of two options. “See Immediate Family filtered map” takes you directly to the map and only shows life events of the selected person, his or her parents, spouse, and children. “See Ancestors filtered map” takes you directly to the map and shows all direct line ancestors of the selected person. This is a great way to see migration patterns of a family line, for example.
Other Filter Options
The label at the top of the Map View indicates whether you are in a “Filtered View” or not. In addition, when the map is filtered the Filter Controls icon is highlighted in red. To remove or change the filters simply tap the Filter Controls icon and follow the prompts.
Have questions or problems? Send us an email!