A Little Nudge.
Let’s face it. Even though we love discovering new things – or rediscovering old things – about our ancestors, it isn’t always easy to carve out time to dedicate to family history. Many users have told us this is one of the best things about The Family Nexus app. Regular alerts and notifications from The Family Nexus keep you engaged in learning about your ancestors. Each time you get an alert on your mobile device is like a call from your ancestor. Answer the call and take 5-10 minutes learning a little more about that particular ancestor.
Alerts in The Family Nexus App
All of the alerts can be viewed and managed in the Notifications history screen. The bell icon on the Map View is a shortcut to the Notifications. You can also get to the Notifications history by going to the menu and tapping “Notifications.” Tapping a notification will generally take you to the Map View with the event card showing, but some notifications or events will behave a little differently. If you want to clean up your notification history you can tap the “Mark All As Read” button at the top. Or you can even delete an item by swiping left to reveal the “Delete” option.
We have recently expanded the types of alerts that you can receive. Let’s learn about the various types of notifications you can receive on The Family Nexus app.
The most common type of alert is the date-based notification. Each day The Family Nexus will check your direct-line ancestors and look for anniversaries of births, marriages, or deaths in your tree. If it finds that one of those events took place on this day in your family history you will get an alert on your phone!
When I get these alerts I always spend a few minutes reviewing what I know about that ancestor. I look at other life events to get an idea of where the lived. Did they move around or spend their life in one place? What do I know about their immediate family members? I also use the Memories tab in The Family Nexus to explore photos and stories that have been added to FamilySearch. Next, I will open the event card and share it on social media. When I share the card, I add a brief paragraph summarizing what I know about that ancestor. It is a fun way to get reacquainted with an ancestor, and then share what I learned with family and friends. You can do the same!
Your Ancestor Was Here!
Another alert is the location-based notification. From the beginning, the ability to receive an alert when you are close to the location of an event from your family history has been an exciting feature for our users. Countless users have shared how these alerts have help them discover things they didn’t know about their family history. I find it very rewarding to visit the places where my ancestors walked. Here are a couple of tips to help you get the most out of this feature.
Adjust your Settings
First, be sure to go to the Settings screen under the main menu. Here you adjust 2 settings which affect the “geo-notifications.” The top slider allows you to adjust the distance at which you receive alerts. Do you want to get an alert only when you are very close? Set the slider at 10 miles. Or if you want to see more alerts set the distance at 100 miles. Then you will have time to decide if you want to take a detour to visit those ancestral places! The sliders can be set at 10 mile increments.
The next slider is really important. While it is exciting to get a call from an ancestor nudging you to learn more about them, it can be annoying to get the same call every day! The app allows you to mute location-based notifications a set distance from your house. The first step to make this work is to tell the app where your home location is. Tap the “Set Home” button when you are at home. The map will show your current location. Simply tap Save Home and now the app as a starting point for the distance calculator. This location is only stored inside your device and is never shared with us.
Once you have set the home location, you can then set a distance for muting. If you set the mute distance at 20 miles, you won’t receive alerts about ancestral events that occurred within a 20 mile radius of your home. Because I commute about an hour to work each day, I have set my mute distance at 50 miles. Before you mute, though, I suggest receiving all alerts for a week or two – you might be surprised what you learn!
A new addition to version 2 of the app was the ability for premium subscribers to check in. Every family history treasure hunter should keep a travel log. The Check-in feature is a fun way to keep track of the ancestral places you visit. It is also fun to share with your family members and help them make discoveries about their family history as well. This is where the alerts come in again.
Here is how it works. Each time you check in to the location of a life event of one your ancestors, other family members will get an alert. Alerts are only sent to relatives with The Family Nexus app that share that ancestor in common with you. Last summer, for example, my sister traveled through Wyoming. On their way they stopped at the burial location of my great-great-great-grandfather, William Charles Jarman. When she checked in, I received the alert below!
Accupin – Location Edited
The final alert type is associated with the Accupin TM feature. You can learn more about this amazing feature in this in-depth article. Accupin TM allows you to edit the precise location where an event took place. This makes your family map more accurate and interesting. Because we believe in making family history a collaborative experience, the app sends an alert to other relatives that share that ancestor. The notification also gives the recipient the opportunity to accept the Accupin TM edit in her own device as well!
You and dozens of your relatives can add the precise GPS coordinates or street address for all kinds of life events. As you do so, you will enhance the ability to interact with these ancestral places. Alerts keep you informed and help your family members as well.
Facilitating Discovery and Collaboration
The Family Nexus is delighted to facilitate discovery and collaboration. It is exciting to receive messages from our customers telling of how the app has helped them as they travel at home or abroad. Some have been pleasantly surprised to get alerts about other family members visiting locations of ancestral events. Others are excited about using the Accupin feature to make their family map more precise! As you interact with the places from your family tree, rest assured that we are working behind the scenes to keep you engaged and connected with other living family members too! Like a central switchboard, The Family Nexus is helping you connect as your ancestors call!
Please share your story in the comments below of how alerts have helped you make family history discoveries!