FamViewer Frequently Asked Questions
- Is FamViewer connected with any desktop software? No. You
don't need any particular desktop genealogy software to use FamViewer.
Active genealogists already own desktop genealogy software.
FamViewer will import GEDCOM files that have been exported from the
popular genealogy applications.
- Can I edit my GEDCOM file with FamViewer? No. FamViewer is
a GEDCOM viewer application. You can transfer your GEDCOM files to
FamViewer and it will display them but there's no way to edit the files
or get them back from
- Can I add notes or anything to my database? You can use the New
Notes feature to save information about any individual in your
database, for example
while at an archive doing research. You can later email all of the New
Notes from your
database to yourself. Enter a New Note on any Person view. Tap
the action icon on the toolbar (has an arrow on it) to see the Manage
New Notes view. Choose Text or GEDCOM file and tap 'Prepare Email For
New Notes.' You can then view all the New Notes, if you chose text, and
then send the email. The GEDCOM file will be sent as an attachment.
Make sure that you've configured your email account in Mail.app before
trying to send a New Note email in FamViewer. You can send your
email first as Text and then as GEDCOM file if you wish. You can
continue to add New Notes and send emails at any time. The New Notes
will exist until the Delete All New Notes button is tapped. Don't
delete the new notes until you're sure that you've received them as an
email. You can also export a New Notes file to the shared folder where
it will be accessible from iTunes File Sharing from your desktop
- What can I do with the GEDCOM file that the New Notes feature
sends me? This GEDCOM file isn't the same file you imported. It
contains only those people to whom you've added New Notes and it only
contains their Names and the New Notes. You should first create an
empty database file in your desktop genealogy software and then import
this GEDCOM file into that empty database. View the people in the new
database, most likely by viewing the index in the new database file,
and then viewing their notes. You could copy the text from the New
Notes and paste it into your existing database. It's also possible that
you could merge this new database into your existing database using the
merge capabilities of your desktop genealogy software. Depending on how
you like to work you may prefer the New Notes be in simple text format
or in GEDCOM file format.
- How do I transfer my GEDCOM file to FamViewer? The easiest way for most users is to use iTunes file sharing. Additionally there are
methods called Upload and Download. View the screencasts
demonstrate these methods and read the Help files for more info. Most
users will use the iTunes file sharing method to upload their GEDCOM file to
FamViewer from their desktop computer.
- Can I download my GEDCOM files from a free web host site? Yes you can. See the instructions here for two of the popular web hosts.
- Can I sync my GEDCOM files with FamViewer? Not exactly. The
Download view remembers any files that you've previously downloaded
and you can easily choose a file from the list and download it again if
When a GEDCOM file is imported by FamViewer it will overwrite a
previous file with the same name (without asking).
- How do I associate multimedia files with my GEDCOM file?
FamViewer 2.4 displays multimedia files associated with a GEDCOM file.
The image files or other multimedia files are placed in a folder with
the GEDCOM file and then the folder is zipped, all on your desktop
computer. Then transfer the zip archive to FamViewer using one of the
standard methods. More detailed instructions are here.
- Will FamViewer accept any GEDCOM file at all? Probably not.
OK, definitely not. Although GEDCOM is a standard there
really are no standard GEDCOM files. All the popular
genealogy programs export non-standard GEDCOM files. FamViewer
will import many GEDCOM files, but not all. For best
compatibility choose these settings when exporting GEDCOM files: GEDCOM
Version: 5.5, Character Set: either UTF-8 or ANSEL are best, but any
setting should work, Abbreviate Tags: Yes, Indent Records: No. If you
have a GEDCOM file that uses an older GEDCOM version it would be best
to import it into your desktop genealogy software and re-export it
using these settings. FamViewer doesn't support long tags. If
there is a problem when importing, FamViewer will display an
line number of the problem. You may be able to inspect the
file with a text editor and figure out the problem and either edit the
file or change the settings in your genealogy software to make the file
acceptable to FamViewer. If you'd like to email the GEDCOM file to us
we can let you know what the problem is and possibly improve FamViewer
to accept the file in a future version. See this page
for instructions on how to export GEDCOM files from many
popular genealogy applications.
- Will there be any performance problems with a large GEDCOM
There are several parts to the process: download, import, and display.
Downloading files over WiFi should be very fast.
than 1MB should download in a second or so. The largest file
we've tested is about 60MB and it downloads in around thirty seconds
over WiFi. Importing GEDCOM files that have several
individuals should take ten seconds or less. The largest file
we've tested has about 50000 persons and takes about 15 minutes to
import on an older device. It's OK to interrupt the import process if the phone
rings or you need to quit the app. It will import it again
next time the app is launched. The file is imported into a
database and all of the display of individuals and families comes from
the database. Displaying a family from a large database takes
longer than displaying a family from a small database.
can be some slowness in the index view with very large databases.
- How do I set the Home Family? Navigate to the family that you
want to be the Home Family. Tap the info button in the toolbar for the
open GEDCOM file. At the bottom of the Info view is a row titled Home
Family that shows the current Home Family. Tap the row and choose
the new Home Family in the Choose Home Family view that appears.
Tapping the Home icon on the toolbar will return you to the Home