My Map View: State Maps for Other Countries

In My Map View there are several ways that you can navigate to a state level map.  Unfortunately the only country that has state level maps (displays county maps) is the United States.  We have been unable to locate free maps that work with our mapping software for most countries in the world.

No worries though, for countries without county maps, the functionality for the state or province is equivalent to the county maps for the United States.  Said differently, there is one less map, but the detailed links and filtering by location are still available!  Lets look at a country map of Germany.

Our starting navigational point is a map of Germany.

In the above map, with the list of States below the map and on the right the list of all family members with an event in Germany, I clicked on Baden-Wurttemberg in the map.  The map below appeared, unchanged.  Look closely at the chart below the map.  Instead of the list of States as above, the list below changed to the individual locations inside Baden-Wurttemberg.  I further clicked on the link for the town of Baiersbronn, and the list of people on the right side changed to only include the 8 people who had an event in Baiersbronn!

Map of My Family in Germany

To see the list of people who were in Bronnweiler, click on the link for Bronnweiler, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, and the list of people on the right side of the screen will change.  How powerful from the initial World map, click on Germany, then click on Baden-Wurttemberg, and finally click on Bronnweiler.  If you are visiting Bronnweiler area in Germany, with three quick clicks of your mouse you have the list of people who you placed in a specific town in Germany!  Does it get any easier than that?


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My Map View: Country Maps

In My Map View you can navigate to a country map in one of four ways:

Country Navigation

  1. Click on the Flag for the country list
  2. In a World map, click on the country in the map
  3. In a Regional map, click on the country in the map (not shown)
  4. In the chart below a world or regional map, click on the country name

What do you see when you display a country graph?  Each country map displays the country along with each of the states or provinces in the country.  Each state/province where you have placed your relatives will be color coded with the number of relatives located in the state (or the number of events).  On the right side of the screen will be a list of the relatives who lived in the selected country.  The Reports available under the Reports tab (far right of screen) will change so that any report selected will reflect the country displayed in the map!

Map of My Family in the United States

What is the value of the country-wide map?  As genealogists we work with records that place our ancestors on a map.  For some countries we may be very familiar with states/provinces our family lived in, and not so familiar with others.  Many Americans learned in grade school the map of the states, and could label the states.  However, my personal grasp of say, the United Kingdom or Germany is rudimentary at best.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and in the case of a map of our family, doubly so.

Germany England

Map of My Ancestors in Germany

Map of My Direct Ancestors in England

Our next post will explore what happens when you click on a state in the map or the link for a state.

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My Map View: People versus Events?

Map People or Events?

In My Map View one of the options you have for each map is the choice between mapping people or mapping events.  This option is found in the Map my family section on the left side of the screen, just under the option asking which family members to include in the chart.  Mapping people or events, what is the difference?  The chart below illustrates the difference as it is included in the map.

Situation When mapping people
When mapping events
Person is in a location 1 time, immigration port or a registration for WW1 .. 1 1
Person is in a location whole life, 8 census records, marriage, birth, death .. 1 11

So, what is the difference?  To some extent, mapping events shows the areas where your research has focused; a higher number of events per person, frequently shows a focus of research.  If you have done a significant research on or in a specific county, it will be reflected when mapping events.  Mapping the events may provide a visual cue that a research opportunity for traveling to the area to research exists.

Regardless of what you choose to map, in the chart below the map showing:

  1. Events: the number of events in the location
  2. People: the number of unique people in the location
  3. EPP: the average number of events per person (may be a reflection of focused research for people in the area)
  4. The location (country, state, county, specific town, township, cemetery..)

Information Corresponding to a Map


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My Map View: What Places Did GenDetective Pick For My Family?

When looking at the GenDetective maps it is important to confirm that the locations in your family tree were matched to the location you meant.  As discussed in the prior post, there are several places named Kingston, and it is important to make sure that the Kingston you meant is the Kingston GenDetective matched.

From My Map View, on the right side, select the Reports tab.  At the bottom of the list is a report “What standardized locations did my places map to?”.  To run this report, highlight the report and press the Create Report button.  A report similar to the report below will be generated, remember the report will vary based on the map displayed in the middle of the screen, and based on your family.

What standardized locations did my places map to?

Examining the map will reveal the location that your place (My Location Name) was mapped to (Standardized Location Name).  In the sample report above, you may notice that Stewartstown is slightly different from what I have entered into my family tree, but it maps to the correct location in Northern Ireland.

If you disagree with the location that one of your places was mapped to, consider specifying a fully qualified name: Town, County (if applicable), State/Province, Country. Doing so will help GenDetective “pick” the location you meant, not the first location that “matches”.

The next post will explore Country maps.

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My Map View: That’s Not Where My Family Was At!

When looking at a map in GenDetective My Map View, you may spot your family in a place that you know they have never beenWhat’s up with that?  There are a couple of possibilities:

  1. Your family was there and you don’t remember (not very likely)
  2. The GenDetective mapping has an error (possible, but not likely)
  3. GenDetective “mapped” your family to the wrong location (very likely)

In GenDetective, one of the first tasks performed when analyzing your GEDCOM file is the matching of the locations in your family tree to the known, standardized locations that are included in GenDetective.  Where did the GenDetective locations come from and how accurate are they?  I’m glad you asked.  The locations are published by the US Board on Geographic Names (BGN), and BGN publishes lists of both US and international locations, including the latitude and longitude coordinates used in maps!

How do you know if all of your locations matched to the GenDetective locations and how can you confirm that the locations are what you meant?  Let me give you an example (with permission of the user): Kingston.  Where do you expect Kingston to be?  A partial list for Kingston includes:

  • Kingston, Jamaica
  • Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  • Kingston, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Kingston, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Kingston, Ulster County, New York, USA

Which Kingston did GenDetective pick?  The first, Kingston, Jamaica.  Needless to say, from the users prospective, that was wrong, and the correct answer was Kingston, Ulster County, New York, USA!

On the right side of the World map, is a Reports of Interest list.  Click on the report labeled: My family locations and press the Create Report button at the bottom of the screen.  A report that looks similar to the following will appear.

My Family Locations Report

The places in the report are grouped by country, and then state.  Note, that the countries included in the map are dependent on the map that you have displayed when you run the report.  Looking at the report above, you will note places that do not have coordinates (latitude and longitude).  These places will not appear in any map, and if you notice places where you have questions (I don’t believe that place is in my family), then additional investigation may be necessary.  An additional post will explore the steps for resolving these issues.

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2018 My Year of DNA Research

Happy New Years!  2018 was my year of joining the genealogy DNA party.  I finally decided to do DNA testing for both my husband and myself.  My initial findings didn’t differ from many people .. we had a few close matches but thousands of distant cousin matches (on I currently have over 33,000 matches).

In genealogy working with new record collection usually involves a learning curve. DNA is a little different from working with military pensions, deeds or civil lawsuits, with a steeper learning curve.  To motivate myself (and make sure I carried through), I did what every one does.  I volunteered to teach DNA classes to seniors at the local university.  Yeah, that’s what everyone does, not!  However, it worked for me; I held 2 * 6 week classes on learning to work with DNA and sorting through your matches, which forced me to get with the program, no way to back out. 🙂

Using “regular genealogy” I have so far identified 253 cousins, fitting them into my tree.  That still leaves thousands of cousins who, for one reason or another, I have been unable to identify.  I spoke with Dana Leeds, creator of the Leeds Method, and started using spreadsheets to color code and organize my DNA matches into family lines.

DNA Fan Chart

Of course, my next question was how many of my lines have been confirmed?  A picture is worth a thousand words, plus it just makes things easier to “see”.  Using I created a 9 generation fan chart and started counting and grouping matches.  The number beside each couple identifies the number of people who share the same set of common ancestors, our first point of shared ancestry.  This chart is a few matches out of date, and I have a couple of matches at a head scratching, 7th great grandparents; amazing what a pair of first cousin marriages will do for DNA testing.

While I haven’t confirmed every line, at my 2nd great grandparents I have confirmed 7 of 8 couples, and at my 3rd great grandparents DNA has confirmed 11 of 16 couples!  I’m pleased with the results, especially as most of the unconfirmed couples are European where testing has lagged behind the US market.

May 2019 bring new cousins and a break through on one of my brick walls!



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My Map View: World & Regional Maps

The first map you will see in My Map View is a world map.  In the Map My Family section of the screen (left side), you can expand the Maps node to see a list of the Regional maps that pertain to the family you have on the world map, and under Country maps will be a list of the country where your family has been identified.

Remember the locations your family has been found in is not a “master, all-knowing list” of everyplace in the world where your family members can or could be found in records.  The locations displayed on the maps come from the family tree that you imported into GenDetective; these are the locations you have placed your family.

Compare the two maps below.  The first map contains a list of the regions and countries where I have found my direct relatives.  The second map, All Relatives, contains a list of all regions and countries where I have identified family members.  Notice that the scale and colors have changed between the two maps.  Always check the scale that is being used as it will change based on what is currently located in the map; the scale is not fixed.

Direct Relatives All Relatives

Instead of looking at a world map, click on any of the Regional Maps to see a detailed map of the region you selected.  I clicked on the Regional Map of Europe and the following map appeared.  By comparing to the world maps above, you can see this is more focused map of Europe.

My Family In Europe

Click on any country in the World map or a Regional map to see additional details about the selected country.  Note, the list below the map has also changed to contain links to the countries contained in the regional map.

In our next post we will explore the information found in a country map.



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