Now, I’ve never been a big fan of geography, but it’s very important as a genealogist that you know where people are. And how better to plot locations than by making a map?
I thought this might be a useful exercise in reminding me where to look – it gets quite hard to keep track of when you’ve got 600+ people in your family tree! A fair few of my ancestors travelled quite a bit so it’s definitely worth having a comprehensive map of locations and proximities.
I also expect it to be interesting to plot where people were at different dates, to track migration patterns. Hopefully this might help me work out more about their lives and occupations, and maybe even fill in some gaps.
So, I’m using Aardvarkmap.net which basically allows you to ‘pin’ places on a map and add in whatever info you like.
The advantages are that it uses Google maps, which we all already recognize and know how to use. It’s also quite simple to use in itself, with plenty of space to record whatever you want. You can zoom in and out so you can be as precise or approximate as you want in your markings. You can either link to your map or, build it into your webpage as I’ve done here. Plus you can log back in and update whenever you want (although then you do get a whole new version of the map, so you have to update links etc.)
I’m starting with family surnames and dates only. I might build on this later by adding specific individuals, known addresses and parish records. You can check out my map using the page links to the top-left of the page, or by clicking here.
If you hover over the little white icons you can see the place names, and if you click on them you will get pop-up balloons with surnames for that area. This will give you some idea of my family history name and location interests – please do give me a shout if any of these coincide with your own!
Beware though, you need to be using / viewing your maps on a regular basis – if not, they disappear! The help forums say ‘after a lengthy period of non-use’ – but I wouldn’t say a week was particularly lengthy!
Anyone else using this or something similar? How useful do you find it?