NEW AncestorSearch version 1.5: See Google Search results in real-time as you type!

This article refers to the AncestorSearch using Google Custom Search found by clicking the link at the top-right of this blog. Before I get to the exciting enhancements to the tool, I first want to say thank you to all of the people who have been using it (over 18,000 hits in the last couple of months), and the many compliments and write-ups from people who have extended their family trees as a result of the tool.  For example, Peter Calver, founder of LostCousins, stated in his 6 Jun 2011 newsletter “the first time I tried it, it led me to a new … Read more

Updated: AncestorSearch using Google Custom Search, version 1.1

This is an update to my original post, “Does this Google Custom Search help find records about your ancestors?“ You may recall that I built the AncestorSearch form as a timesaver for my own genealogical web searches, and I decided to share it on my website in case others find it useful too.  (As a reminder, the AncestorSearch form performs a Google search that is optimized for finding web pages mentioning ancestors by making use of  Google search techniques including quoted phrases, checking both firstname lastname, and lastname firstname order, placing the “OR” statements and parenthesis in the right places, and so on.)    … Read more

Historical U.S. Counties

Why would you want to see historical Google Maps? County boundaries in the U.S. have changed over 17,600 times since America was settled in colonial times! This historical counties tool built on Google Maps will help you make sure you’re searching in the correct county for the place and any historical date you are researching. Research with confidence knowing that this tool is built using the complete dataset of the authoritative Newberry Library’s Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. Watch a video walkthrough of the Historical U.S. Counties Map tool and Auto-Checker Quick Tips for using this Historical U.S. Counties map … Read more

PeopleSearch

First Name Last Name Alternate Last Name Optional 2nd person (e.g. spouse, parent) First Name Last Name Alternate Last Name Other optional details Place Year Exact Arrests, etcMarriagesBirthsDeaths TIP: If you are searching for a U.S. location, you can check that you are looking in the correct county for the year you are researching here: Historical U.S. Counties on Google Maps Google Custom Search Filter Search Results Do not filter search results EXCLUDE search results from people search sites INCLUDE ONLY search results from people search sites EXCLUDE search results from social media sites INCLUDE ONLY search results from social media … Read more

About randymajors.org Research Hub

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 these topics … Read more

So…what is randymajors.org Research Hub anyway?

randymajors.com Research Hub homepage

“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 … Read more

Thank you for the feedback! Now, what have I done with it?

Thank you to the 182 people that provided valuable feedback via the user survey I had running over the last 30 days on the randymajors.org map and search tools. This post provides a brief summary of the feedback, as well as a handful of enhancement ideas that came from the surveys. First, what are people using the tools for? Given the history of this website, it’s no surprise that the largest proportion of users use the tool for genealogy purposes, especially the Historical U.S. County Boundary Maps and AncestorSearch: Google Custom Search tools. However, it was quite interesting to see … Read more

How can I improve the randymajors.org mapping and search tools for you?

With many tools getting quite a lot of usage on the randymajors.org website, it’s a good time for me to ask users what I can do to improve the tools. I’d be grateful if you would take a few minutes to provide feedback on the tools you use by following the links below.  Your feedback will help ensure I focus on the things that are most important (including new tools you wish existed!). Please click links or images below to be taken to the survey for that tool.  Your responses will remain anonymous.  (Visit the tools using the links on … Read more

A couple of enhancements to the Historical U.S. County Boundary Maps tool — and a thank you!

I’ve recently made a couple of enhancements to the Historical U.S. County Boundary Maps tool that make it easier to read and see the results of the search (see screenshot below). Thank you, The Family Nexus, for your article that had very nice things to say about the tool, and also made me aware that the text was a tad small. Another enhancement is the addition of a little “maximize” button above the “Go!” button that expands the map window for much easier viewing (see the little square in the top right of the above screenshot). Finally, one last enhancement is … Read more

Take me to the tools

Looking at search statistics on my websites, it seems the vast majority of people who visit this site are looking for a few tools I’ve created.  So this post is simply to make it easy to find those tools, starting with the most popular: AncestorSearch using Google Custom Search Searches using the full power of Google, and automatically applies advanced Google search techniques so you’re much more likely to find mentions of ancestors that are otherwise buried in thousands of Google search results.  Great for genealogy and also searching for living people.  Linked to by over 100 professional and amateur genealogy sites, … Read more