What would I use these reports for?

GenDetective Location Summary report

Location Summary report

A GenDetective location summary report for the United States

Location Summary for Country

The reports in question are two GenDetective statistical reports, “Location Summary” and “Location Summary for Country”, and the question was posed at the NGS Conference in Cincinnati.   My answer was to pull out two pictures, and say, “This is what I do with the information”!  The two reports (above) show:

  • The total number of events recorded for each state in each country (Location Summary).
  • The total number of events for each county in each state in the desired country (Location Summary for Country).

When looking at these reports, you see numbers, right?   Lots of numbers.  What if you look those numbers in this format?  When I run this report, usually when planning

A map showing the Location Summary
USA Location Summary

a research trip, I get out my gel pens and transcribe the information from the “Location Summary” report onto a country map, color coding by the number of events. The scale represented by each color is irrelevant, as long as you create a scale. For this map I used:

  • Blue: <= 250 events
  • Green: 251 – 500 events
  • Red: 501 – 1000 events
  • Purple: 1001+ events

Across the top of the map I record:

  • The Date
  • Total number of events for the country
  • Number of generic events (USA + United States)

Looking at the map, you can conclude:  my family lived in Pennsylvania, Indiana and Ohio, and to a lesser extent, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, and Missouri.  When planning a research trip, the states with purple numbers are on my “candidate list”, followed by the secondary states (the ones in red).

I recently attended genealogy conferences in California and Indiana.  I opted to spend 1.5 days researching in Indiana over California-based on the data in these two reports.  Not being very familiar with Indiana, I plotted the events for each county with data from the “Location Summary by Country” report.   It was immediately apparent that I should focus my research efforts in the southwest corner of the state.

Map of Indiana

In this case, a picture is worth a thousand words, and when combined with the information in the GenDetective “Location Summary” and “Location Summary for Country” reports, it can make planning your genealogy research trip a whole lot easier!

Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) versions of the maps shown here: the United States and Indiana, as well as all 50 states, are available from nationalatlas.gov for free.

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One Response to What would I use these reports for?

  1. Pingback: Sneak Peak: Maps in GenDetective 2013 | GenDetective

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