“So what is your website all about?” I increasingly get asked some form of this question about randymajors.org Research Hub.
A BRIEF BACKSTORY: Back in 2006-2010, the randymajors.org website was a fairly small collection of blog posts about family history plus some of my photography. Then, in 2011 I launched the AncestorSearch on Google Search and Historical U.S. Counties on Google Maps tools primarily aimed at genealogy and historical research.
FAST FORWARD TO 2018: I decided to broaden the appeal of the mapping and search tools to a more general audience by launching the present-day County Lines on Google Maps tool. I continued to get more traction with that tool and added more global coverage. Then I released ZIP Codes on Google Maps. Of course, I continue to write genealogy how-to/tips articles as well, and enhance the genealogy tools.
Finally, in 2019, I opened the floodgates and launched a whole slew of mapping and search tools including:
- City Limits
- Section Township Range
- Area Codes
- Time Zones
- Location Explorer
- Climate Info
- plus significant upgrades to all of the existing map and search tools
In 2019, I also launched the ability to:
- create links to custom maps of states, counties and ZIP Code-based sales or service territories
- create state county maps with labels
- create links to historical county boundary maps for any historical year and state
- quickly answer What county am I in right now, What township am I in and Am I in city limits?
GIVEN ALL THIS, WHAT IS THE COMMON THREAD RUNNING THOUGH THE randymajors.org WEBSITE?
In a word: RESEARCH
Hence the name randymajors.org Research Hub
Whether doing sales/business planning, house hunting, scientific field research, tax determination, volunteer work or the traditional genealogy and historical research, the common theme is often that people are using my tools for research purposes.
I created an About randymajors.org Research Hub page to attempt to state my mission and answer the questions I receive most often. A few excerpts from that page:
The goal of this website is to make research easier by providing effortless access to publicly available data through familiar, straightforward tools.
The map tools are built on Google Maps and the search tools use Google Search. Why?
They’re the world’s most popular mapping app and search engine, and so very familiar to nearly everyone.
Why not use Google Maps itself rather than the map tools on this website? There are many topics not covered by Google Maps that lots of people would like to see included. This website aims to fill many of those gaps, such as…
If the data used by the tools on this website is publicly available elsewhere, why use the tools on this website? In a word, simplicity. It shouldn’t be so cumbersome to see the map you want and the answers you’re looking for. The tools on this website are built so you can get the answers you’re looking for with as few clicks and steps as possible. In most cases, literally one or two clicks.
No downloads, no installation, no importing/exporting required. Just go to the tool you want to use based on your topic of interest (e.g. county lines, city limits, ZIP Codes), and either type a place you’re interested in or zoom on the map, and you have your answer.
A special note to all of my long-time users doing genealogy, ancestry and historical research: NO WORRIES. THIS RESEARCH FOCUS IS VERY MUCH INTENDED TO INCLUDE A FOCUS ON YOU!
Thanks for your supportive comments and excellent suggestions over the years. And thank you for sharing the tools with your friends, colleagues and family!