The Family Nexus App Data

I haven’t posted a blog article for a while. I have been extremely busy with life! End of school year activities for the kids, new full-time job, and working to publish the premium features! I want to share a little about The Family Nexus app data with you. Downloading part of your FamilySearch family tree directly to your iPhone or iPad is one aspect that makes the app unique.

The Family Nexus app for iPhone integrates with FamilySearch and automatically maps life events from your family tree! Alerts and notifications tell you when you are close to those locations or remind you when certain events took place on this day in your family history. The app is great when traveling and even when carrying out your normal routing! So let’s take a look under the hood at what data we download.

What Data We Download

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 beyond the 6 generations that the free users get. An update will be published to the App store in June 2017 that will include the option to unlock the premium features.

Data Elements

For each individual in your family tree we collect the following basic information about their lives as stored in FamilySearch:

  1. Full name
  2. Family Search Person ID
  3. Portrait
  4. Birth date and Birth place
  5. 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).
  6. Spouse’s name
  7. Death date and Death place
  8. Burial date and Burial place


Person Details shows life events and indicates whether we found a geo-match.

After we download this data we go a step further. Using The Family Nexus app data, 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.

A note about locations

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.

In the future we plan to add the ability for users to edit this location to provide an address or precise GPS coordinates! This would open up all kinds of possibilities in terms of research, ancestral travel, or just exploring and learning more about your ancestors!

We hope you enjoyed learning a little more about The Family Nexus app data that can help you connect with your family history in new and exciting ways!

Download the app from the App Store and get started today!

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