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10 March 2015

Do You Work Without Maps?

When you get all "into" researching a person or family in an area that is unfamiliar to you, do you stop and take the time to find maps of the areas where the people of interest live? It is important to know county, state, and other boundaries and the relative proximity of the places where you think people live. It's even more imperative in a "new" area where the geography may be unknown to you.

Don't assume you "know" the geography "good enough" or that the states are small enough that it doesn't matter. Look at maps. Analyze locations. Determine how far apart different residences for your ancestor are.

Don't get so caught up in the search that you lose sight of the geography in the process.


  1. Could you suggest some good map website?

    1. Good suggestion. We'll work on a blog post with some. Blogger doesn't like clickable links in responses here. I may post a longer list of them to our "Genealogy Search Tip of the Day" site http://genealogysearchtipoftheday.blogspot.com


  2. I've been cleaning, updating, and adding GPS coordinates to my genealogy recently. The site that I find works quick and easily for me is: http://stevemorse.org/jcal/latlon.php . The biggest stumbling block I'm coming across now is that several locations have the same name for city and county, and the sources I used don't always indicate if it's city or county.

  3. It's also wise to look back to see how the area changed over time. I once found a relative who lived in three different counties, but I doubt that he ever moved. The original county divided twice, so he had three different addresses.