One of the powerful new features in GenDetective version 2.0 is ability to map your family (see blog here). As genealogists, we work with many different place names, whether we find them in vital records, census records or newspaper articles.
Unless our family has lived in the exact same town or handful of towns for hundreds of years, we begin to accumulate a lot of different place names. As our research broadens out to the aunts and uncles, and into the cousins, we add more place names. Identifying the most important places our family lived in (those where the directs lived) can become difficult, especially as some family stayed behind in a location and others continued their migration. Where exactly should we be searching for our ancestors?
The new mapping features in GenDetective will help answer this question. We have all heard that famous quote, “a picture is worth a thousand words“. Let me show you a few maps, all created by GenDetective, that can help you plan a research trip. I am not planning to leave the United States, so we will start with a pair of US maps. Instead of mapping events, which are a reflection of my research efforts, we are will map people.
This first map shows where every person in my family has lived. Interesting picture, but not much help in planning a research trip. This second picture, my direct family in the US, helps narrow my choices. If I rule out the states with only 1 direct ancestor I am left with: Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, California, New York, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. I live in and research in Pennsylvania all of the time. New Jersey is the state with the 2nd highest number of direct relatives, what does that state look like?
Looking at the map of all the relatives in New Jersey, they lived in almost every county of New Jersey. However, switching to a view of my direct relatives we can easily see there is a concentration in Burlington, Camden and Hunterdon counties. I know I have not researched in any courthouses in New Jersey, maybe it is time to visit each of these county courthouses.
Who would I research? By clicking on Burlington County, I am presented with a list of the relatives who lived there. Note, this list is cropped to remove the living individuals who do not need their birth dates published for all to see 🙂
I now have my list of relatives to research, one list for each county. Now I need to investigate the sources available, print some additional reports and then visit a few courthouses to research!