What do courthouses, cemeteries, churches, and libraries have in common?

Well, for the genealogist and historical researcher, they’re all great places to look for historical sources and information on ancestors, historical figures, or the local area.  And they’ve recently been incorporated into my Historical U.S. County Boundary Maps tool!  Just check the “Show Research Locations” checkbox and then select which categories you want to show, and symbols will appear on the map: Then, you can click an icon, and an info window will appear: The name of the place and the Website are both hyperlinks, which will open up a Google Places page for more information on the place: I’ve … Read more

Heads-up for those using Ancestry.com’s App for iPhone and iPad

UPDATE:  Ancestry.com’s App version 3.0.1 released 20 Nov 2011 has fixed the problem reported here. After having some problems with Ancestry.com’s App on my iPad 2 a few days ago, I called their support. After their support representative talked to the App developers, she got back to me later that day that she was informed that the App “broke” under Apple’s new iOS 5. She said that “the programmers upstairs are working on it and you should be getting an update right on your phone” or iPad. No ETA given. Quick background: I recently started using Family Tree Maker 2012 … Read more

Domain Drama

My website has experienced domain drama the last day or two. Basically, some people couldn’t reach the site unless they used the www prefix (such as https://www.randymajors.org/maps), which was problematic, as most sites and searches referred to the site without the www prefix. The site should behave such that it doesn’t matter if you use the www or not (as in https://www.randymajors.org/maps). Long story short, the domain host settings appear to be reverted back to the correct settings now, but please leave a comment to this post if you’re still experiencing trouble reaching the site. If you’re experiencing issues, let … Read more

New and more interactive version of the Historical U.S. County Boundary Maps tool released!

Check out the new and more interactive version of the Historical US County Boundary Maps tool! Here’s a quick run-down on what’s new: Show me the answer now please!  Now, when you type a Place and a Year* and click the Go button, you will be zoomed to that place and an information panel will automatically appear above the map, as highlighted here: I want the details.  The information panel above the map shows the year, county name, full place name, and details about the latest evolution of your county of interest’s boundaries as of the year you chose.  Source … Read more

Undocumented tricks for surfacing buried ancestors using the AncestorSearch Google Custom Search tool

OK, maybe you won’t surface any actual ancestors with these tricks, but you very well may surface a number of buried web pages about them!  By using these tricks, I’ve found many additional web pages that were buried deep in the far recesses of the internet that mentioned my ancestors. First for some brief background.  As you can see, AncestorSearch has input boxes for First Name, Last name, as well as Alternate Last Name.  This is useful if you want to check alternate spellings for a surname, as in the example below where I’m looking for an association between two … Read more

Are you sure you’re looking in the right county for those records?

When doing genealogical or historical research, it’s helpful (if not essential) to know what counties to search for the timeframe you’re interested in.  And as we all know, boundaries shift over time.  So you may think you know what counties to search, but is there a chance you’re missing something? Take a look at this example.  Let’s assume you’re looking for records for your homesteading ancestors who settled in the region between Albuquerque, Los Alamos, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.  This animation shows the boundaries by decade from 1850 to 1950.  Those county boundaries were anything but stable.  Take for … Read more

If at first you don’t succeed… try AncestorSearch

The latest newsletter from UK webssite LostCousins.com contained the following story. It’s such a great example of a success story using my AncestorSearch tool that I just have to share it.  It’s an important reminder that exactly how you format your Google search really does make a huge difference in the results you get; AncestorSearch helps format your Google search to achieve more focused and successful genealogical search results.  See here and here for more background info, and give it a try — even for those ancestors you’ve searched for hundreds of times before to no avail. Here’s the story: … Read more

Historical World Boundary Maps back to 2000 BC!

This is an update to my original post here. The Historical World Boundary Maps tool has been updated to include boundaries from 2000 BC to 2008 AD. Just type in a PRESENT-day city and country, and a HISTORICAL year, and click Go!  The boundaries will appear, and you can then click the map to see what the name of the country, empire, or kingdom was at that location for the year you typed. Note:  The information for all years prior to 1946 includes very generalized boundaries, very rough timeframes for the boundaries, and includes some errors and omissions. As such, the information … Read more

First U.S. Counties…now The World!

Please see an update to this post here. It’s great to see that so many people are getting good use from the Historical U.S. County Boundary Maps interactive tool on this blog.  (There’s a write-up on the tool here.) A number of people have requested historical World country boundary maps as well, so I’ve built another interactive map tool for that:  Historical World Boundary Maps UPDATE: The Historical World Boundary Maps tool has been updated to include boundaries from 2000 BC to 2008 AD. Just type in a PRESENT-day city and country, and a HISTORICAL year, and click Go! The … Read more

Find people on Google+ that share your interests

Google+ has really created quite a buzz!  It’s estimated to have over 10 million users already (see here), and readers of this blog will be interested to know that Google+ already has a large and active genealogy community. So, if you haven’t signed up for Google+ yet, and want to find people on Google+ that share your interests, I’ve built an easy search tool that may help you:  GplusSearch Also, if you’re a subscriber to this blog and haven’t been able to sign on to Google+ while its in “limited field trial“, send an e-mail to me at randymajors at … Read more