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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My Maps: Getting Started

The initial view in My Map View you will see when using GenDetective v3 will look similar to the following:

Initial Map In My Maps View

As with each view in GenDetective, My Map View is divided into multiple sections.  Each section can be resized smaller and larger to dedicate as much space as possible to each section.  The areas are:

  1. Map My Family: This section on the left side of the screen controls the contents of the map (middle section).  You have the option to:
    1. Select the relatives to include in the map; options range from very broad (everyone) to very specific (2nd great grandparents).
    2. Option buttons: you can map people (the number of people at a location) or events (the number of times you have recorded the people at a location).
    3. Maps: the maps section provides a list of the regions (World is always present), continents, and individual countries that occur in the map.
  2. Map Area: The middle section of the screen displays the map, and below the map a list of links related to the contents of the map (in a World map, a list of countries)
    1. Map: the dominant section in the middle, displays the selected map, color coded based on the number of people or events that you have elected to display on your map.  Each country or state displayed in the map can be clicked on to “drill into” additional maps.
    2. Scale: below the map is the scale for the colors in the map.  The scale changes with each map you click on.
    3. List: below the scale is the list of links that correspond to the selected map.  As you click on different maps, the contents displayed in the list will change.
  3. Family Members: This section found on the right side of the screen lists the family members associated with the contents of the map displayed in the middle.
    1. List of people: This section will list the people who correspond to the contents of the map.
    2. Filter links: The links in this section provide a way to filter or limit the people who are displayed in the Family members list.

In the coming weeks each post will explore the functionality in My Map View.




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What Is My Map View?

My Map View is one of the core features of GenDetective v3.  First is the cool, look at my family on a map, wow factor!  Followed quickly by, what now?

My Map View

Genealogy and geography are intertwined.  Geography, along with the years our family were in a location, dictates (controls) the resources we can use to learn more about our family.  Obvious differences in record collections can be quickly spotted, even at a national level:

  1. The United States every 10 years, 1790-1940 (only fragments remain from 1890), plus many territorial and colonial censuses
  2. Great Britain every 10 years, 1841-1911
  3. Canada every 10 years, 1871-1921, plus many provincial & territorial censuses from 1825-1870
  4. The Australians destroyed most of their census records after compiling statistics for privacy protection
  5. The Irish census records have been destroyed:
    • 1821, 1831, 1841, 1851 mostly destroyed in 1922 due to fire
    • 1861 & 1871 were destroyed shortly after the census was enumerated
    • 1881 & 1891 during WW1

Looking at the this list, without considering other countries, demonstrates how geography and time span control the availability of records for genealogical research.  As we further hone in on the locales of our ancestors, state and local records come into play and more variability emerges.  Newspapers, local tax records, state enumerations (New Jersey had state censuses on the 5’s, but Pennsylvania did not), burned county records intrude, as well as regional variability.  Geography is very quickly determining the records available to explore, before we have begun our research!

With geography comes maps and My Map View.  In the next series of posts we will explore My Map View and how to effectively use GenDetective maps in your research.

Map Discussion Initial Map
My Maps: Getting Started

Initial Map In My Maps View

My Maps: World and Regional Maps

My Map View

My Maps: That’s Not Where My Family Was At!

My Family Locations Report

My Maps: What Places Did GenDetective Pick For My Family?

What standardized locations did my places map to?

My Maps: People versus Events?

Map People or Events?

My Maps: Country Maps

Map of My Family in the United States

My Maps: State Maps for The United States

California Family Map

My Maps: State Maps for Other Countries

Map of My Ancestors in Germany

My Maps: US County Maps

Family Members With An Event in El Cajon, Ca



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GenDetective v3.2 Update Released

RumbleSoft is pleased to announce the release of GenDetective v3.2.  This update includes fixes to the following issues:

  • Issue with mapping locations in Canada
  • Problem with maps from multiple countries where drill down to people did not work including: Canada, Switzerland & Turkey.
  • Fix the “My State Wide Research Packet” which would sporadically through an error
  • Correct a GEDCOM processing error for files created by FindMyPast

The update can be downloaded in 3 ways:

  1. By clicking the link here: GenDetective 3.2 Update
  2. Running GenDetective, when it checks once a week for updates, it will prompt you to download and install the update.
  3. Visiting the updates page on our website:

GenDetective is a genealogy visualization and research planning utility.

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My Tree View: Family Members & Reports

The last area of My Tree View is found in the upper right hand corner: Family Members and Reports.  Looking in the upper right corner of  the My Tree View screenshot below, you will see a list of relatives, identified by relationship, to the person that is currently selected.  Clicking on any of these individuals, regardless of relationship, will shift the individuals shown in the navigation view to the ancestors of the selected person.  Use this list of family members to navigate through your tree.  Note, that the home person will always be listed, providing a quick way to “refocus” your view.

My Tree View

Beside the the Family tab is the Reports tab which looks like the following picture.

Reports of Interest

Each of the reports listed in the Reports of Interest tab is a report that can be created for any person using My Family View.  Each report in this list is discussed in detail beginning with the article What Is My Family View?

Clicking on any of these reports and pressing the Create Report button (or double clicking on a report) will trigger the creation of the report for the person highlighted in the navigation view!  Creating a report causes the view to switch from My Tree View to My Family View, with the desired report displayed.  To return to My Tree View, simply click on the button in the toolbar, or change the view with the Current View drop down.

Report of Interest Created from My Tree View

Combining traditional genealogy programs with the power of GenDetective results in My Tree View which is a powerful way to gain insight into additional research opportunities!

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My Tree View: My Research Progress Details

A powerful feature of GenDetective is the ability to configure your own personal research goals.

My Tree View

Using personal research goals provides a way for us to identify research opportunities in our family and that information is front and center as we examine each ancestor in My Tree View!  For the selected person, the one whose timeline is displayed below the navigational view, look at the lower right hand corner.  This section displays the progress for each of the areas in My Research Progress.

My Research Progress Details in My Tree View

To the left is a closeup of the My Research Progress that changes each time an ancestor is clicked on in the navigation view.  The display of your research progress in each research area is familiar, and found in all of the other views in GenDetective.  Each research area is a link, when you click on provides additional information about your research progress.

Research progress for each statistic is identified by one of three images:

Research Progress Images


  • A green check: research identified
  • A red X: research not located
  • A blue circle: partial research identified

At the bottom of each chart, is a link that returns you to the research progress summary.  The chart below shows the details of each of the research areas.

Research Area Example
Vital Statistics
Death Statistics
Census Research
Occupational Research
Military Research
Religious Research
Immigration Research
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