From iPhone or iPad to Evernote

Evernote App
The Evernote App

If Santa brought you a shiny new iPhone or iPad for Christmas and you’re wondering which app to download first for genealogy, might I suggest Evernote?

Evernote is often described as a digital note-taking application, but it is so much more than that. Think of it as a digital information management system.

“Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at any time, from anywhere.”                                                                                — Evernote Product Description

Although not created specifically for genealogists, its rich feature set lends itself well to a genealogist’s research and writing process. In fact, in the March 2012 issue of the Association of Professional Genealogists’ Quarterly, the Evernote app was called a “must-have app for genealogical professionals“. I cannot recommend it enough; it truly is the one app that I use daily in both my personal and professional life.

When doing on-site research, for example, I like to use the camera on my iPhone to take photos of the title pages of books and microfilm. I then upload those images to Evernote for later use in developing source citations. Also, it is often quicker to snap a photo of a microfilmed image when sitting at the microfilm reader than removing the roll and taking it to a separate scanner to create a digital image and save to USB stick. Storing these images in Evernote, along with text, clipped web pages, and voice notes, I can access much of my genealogical research in one spot.

If you are at all intrigued by the possible uses of Evernote, I encourage you to sign up for a free account and download the Evernote app to your Apple smartphone or tablet from the iTunes app store.

To get an image from an iPhone or iPad into Evernote, follow these simple steps.

  1. With Evernote open, click the plus button to add a new note.
  2. Click the photo icon to go to your Camera Roll (if using a pre-existing photo). Alternately, to snap a photo and attach it to a note, click the camera icon instead.
  3. Tap the image you want to save to Evernote. (Note the paperclip with the number next to it. That’s the number of photos that have been attached to the note.)
  4. Tap Done.
  5. Sync up.

While the above directions are specific to the iPhone/iPad, there are Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone versions of the app available, as well as desktop versions of the software and a cloud-based version of the software. The versions I have used have each been fairly intuitive to use despite subtle differences.

One potential “gotcha” is the size of digital images created with a smartphone and the upload limits with a free account. You get 60 MB of space with a free account per month. If you find you need more space you can upload up to 1 GB per month with a premium subscription ($5.00/month or $45.00/year). Check out the details at

Census image from iPad camera roll attached to a note in EvernoteDigital 1860 census image photographed with an iPad and added to a note in Evernote.

iPhone image added to Evernote

Image of microfilmed Virginia tax roll, photographed with an iPhone and added to a new note in Evernote.