Shrubs Reference App Review (iOS, $7.99)


Languages: English, French

Seller: Benoit Bousquet

- new "Pad" feature: text entries can now be associated to individuals and families and can later be viewed on the device or sent via e-mail for merging back into a desktop application (this is not an automated merge feature - it basically replaces carrying a note pad around)
- dates are now parsed and localized (feature can be disabled through the Settings app)
- database statistics are now available through the Tools tab
- people and union indexes can now be searched

Customer Ratings

Current Version:
17 Ratings
All Versions:
28 Ratings


Shrubs is an easy to use application making it possible to carry your family tree with you at all times. It can import standard genealogy files (GEDCOM format) and allows you to quickly navigate through your tree at the touch of a finger.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Version 3.0 of Shrubs is in the works and will be submitted to Apple when it is ready. It has been pushed back from the original scheduled date for a number of personal reasons and because I've decided to include more improvements into this release and did not want to rush it.

NOTE: Upgrading from version 1.x or 2.x will require you to import your GEDCOM file again as the internal database format has changed. Please make sure to export your pad entries before installing the update (when it's released) or they will be erased.

Shrubs only requires network access to initially import your tree data. It parses the specified GEDCOM file into its internal database and can operate in standalone fashion afterwards. Files can be imported from a web server through HTTP (this requires a web host, whether on the internet or on your local area network) or uploaded via a web browser on any computer on your local network, through WiFi.

Supported data file format: GEDCOM 5.5 lineage-linked files (industry standard format supported by most genealogy software).


- Simple, user-friendly interface
- Intuitive family tree navigation
- Designed to function offline once the data is imported
- Index of individuals
- Index of unions
- Individual and family events (with sources)
- Integrated note pad


- Shrubs is a viewer application and does not provide any record editing features
- supported GEDCOM version/form: 5.5 lineage-linked only
- supported GEDCOM character sets: ANSEL, ANSI, ASCII, MACINTOSH, UNICODE and UTF-8 only
- custom event types are displayed as "other"
- GEDCOM file size limit is currently set to 4 Mb (4096 Kb)


"Excellent program for access to family history data. This is particularly useful when you want to refer quickly for dates and other information without lugging around a laptop or other bulky written materials. I highly recommend Schrubs for your iPhone or iPod."
- R. de Mars (United States)

Customer Reviews

  • Shrubs

    by Eogn

    Nice program, easy to use, does all the basics. It provides a database in your pocket. NOTE: as specified in the description, it does not import text notes or "unusual" tags. Imports birth/marriage/deaths just fine but tags such as "enlisted" will show as "other." Not a problem, in my opinion. Unlike other reviewer, I had no problem importing a file name that ends in ".GED". I did not rename it to ".TXT". I like the program.

  • Shrubs 2.2

    by Uploading size issue

    I purchased this software because I liked the features on this compared to their more expensive $14.95 competitor. The fact that it had a note pad for family notes and it had color designation for female & male individuals was a plus. Problem was, I did not see that they only could handle up to a 4 GB upload. Being that I had 5.76 I could not successfully upload my tree. I emailed tech support (which should be an email address which is easier to find) and got an immediate response. THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT TO KNOW when buying any software. I was told that they are working on a newer version which WILL allow the larger uploads. I think then, they will command this App space.

  • Great way to carry around your Family Tree

    by Sciaccatani

    Ver 2.2 I wish all software would update and install so easy! Adding the "notes" feature brings Shrubs as close as possible to an "on the go" way of adding new data and then copying that data when you return home (to your normal full feature genealogy software). I wish I could give 4.5 stars! The only reason I don't give it a 5 Star rating is that it doesn't automatically sync the database when you have updates from the field. Someday.... Still the BEST genealogy database program, for Windows users, for the Touch!~ Ver 2.1 I just upgraded to this new version and it is a GREAT step forward! You can now turn your Touch sideways for viewing trees, and the sources, events are all sorted fine! I like the new layout and will not look backwards in time at the original Ver. 1 layout. It is progress in the RIGHT direction... making things better. If you are a Windows genealoically based researcher, then this is a MUST for you! Until the day that someone, maybe Bonoit, makes a version where you can actually input and update your family tree in the Touch/IPhone (and sync back to your home windows computer) as you travel this the BEST next thing for us Windows users! I've exported my family tree to my PALM via PAF in the past, and now that I've moved to the Touch I was looking for a program to transfer my research to it. While the applicatoin is not perfect, Benoit responds so FAST to questions that it is a "must buy" item if you are into genealogy! It is a "reader" program so you can't enter new data, but so far there is no application available for us Windows people that allows input (genealogical information) directly into the Touch. It is really handy when you are visiting relatives and they ask the "When was Aunt Bertha married to Billy Joe" question... AND it displays a family group like it should be!

  • Great app

    by KenYablonsky

    Version.2 I just got this update aNd the UI is horrible...The previous interface was so much better. I was able to import my GED file easy enough, but now I may not even use the app. Version.1 I just got this app and was able to download my GEDCOM file without a problem. It is great for viewing you family history/tree and show friends and family. I hope in the future they will add the ability to ADD, EDIT & EXPORT new data. Look forward to great new updates.

  • Great update

    by szepcarr

    The update looks and works great. I had trouble uploading my file and Mr. Bousquet got back to me in less than an hour and had me up and running. Great developer, great product!

  • Please help

    by Jenknitter

    I lost all the info on my computer. I have the info in this app. I wish I could upload a gedcom out of the app on to my computer.

  • It's a buck!

    by Jerk57

    This app definitely has it's limitations but for .99 I feel like it is well worth it. So far, I have not seen how it displays "other marriages", but I am still playing with it.

  • Good, but not great...

    by Chitriguy

    I like that you can have your family tree with you BUT, the support website has no documentation on how to get the files imported over so unless you are a geek (which fortunately I am) you are forced to email the developer which I deem their time as valuable so I only bother them when necessary. Note to other users looking to use this app, when I posted the file as name.ged through the web, it wouldn't import...when I renamed it to name.txt, it worked like a charm. Lastly, no editing can be done (as far as I can see) in this application. It is view only. So if you are hoping to save space by taking your iPhone to your local research spot to look for ancestors, you can't input any data, YET. Hopefully this will be added in the future so we can at least use it to take notes. This app does just what it advertises and is easy to get around in and see the information. It is well designed and fast.

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