Video Walkthru: Historical U.S. Counties map tool and Auto-Checker extension

LifeMap example

By popular request, I finally have gotten around to recording a couple of video walkthoughs of a couple of the tools. Certainly not polished and produced, but should give you a good understanding of these two tools: Walkthough of the Historical U.S. Counties map tool: Walkthrough of the Historical U.S. Counties chrome extension: I recommend you view them in the above order, as understanding the Historical U.S. Counties map tool will help you have better success with using the Auto-Checker chrome extension. Be easy on me please, as its my first foray into doing a screencapture walkthrough for youtube :) … Read more

Auto-checking of location facts in Ancestry Family Trees now available, plus new LifeMap!

While searching on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch, the FREE Historical U.S. Counties Auto-Checker extension for Chrome automatically checks that the county existed in the year you are searching, checks for valid places, warns of boundary changes, and links to historical county lines on Google Maps for the place and years you are searching. NEW! SEE A LifeMap OF YOUR ANCESTORS:  If you are a randymajors.org Research Hub Contributor, you can link to a LifeMap showing all of the U.S. locations for each fact on any person profile page on Ancestry!  It will show the Historical U.S. Counties as they existed as of the … Read more

Historical US Counties on Google Maps enhanced to match Census dates, adds townships

With Census season upon us, I’ve made a little update to the Historical U.S. Counties on Google Maps tool. Now, when you search for a year that was also a U.S. Federal Census year (e.g. 1790-2020) , the date will automatically set to the day of the Census that year. Per the Census Bureau, “From 1790 to 1820, the censuses were conducted as of the first Monday in August (August 2, 1790; August 4, 1800; August 6, 1810; August 7, 1820); the 1830-1880 and 1900 censuses were as of June 1; the 1890 census was as of June 2; April … Read more

Let this FREE tool do the location work for you as you search on Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.org

Historical U.S. Counties Auto-Checker free version

U.S. county boundaries have changed over 17,600 times since America was settled in colonial times. Don’t sabotage your search for ancestors by not knowing the correct county for the historical years you are researching. While searching on Ancestry or FamilySearch, the free Historical U.S. Counties Auto-Checker extension for Google Chrome automatically checks that the county existed in the year you are searching, warns of boundary changes, and links to historical county lines on Google Maps for the place and years you are searching! Install for free today and never let an ancestor fall of the map again! For a step-by-step … Read more

Ancestor fall off the map? Use this FREE Chrome extension for Ancestry and FamilySearch to help find them!

It’s been a long time in the making…so I’m excited to finally make this Chrome extension available!  Here’s a run-down on what the Chrome extension does and why it’s important for your searches on Ancestry and FamilySearch. Are you unknowingly sabotaging your searches on Ancestry and FamilySearch? When searching on Ancestry.com, don’t be lulled into complacency by the convenient “City, County, State…” autocomplete dropdown menus like this one: Why?  Because the county listed in the drop-down may not be right!  The county may not have existed in the year you are searching…or boundaries may have changed.  (Keep reading…county boundaries have … Read more

Overlay present-day county lines on the Historical U.S. Counties on Google Maps tool

Based on an idea from a current user (thanks Steve!), there’s now an option to overlay present-day county lines on top of historical county lines. This gives you the ability to see at a glance if you’re researching in an area and timeframe where the county lines have shifted between the historical date you’re viewing and the present-day.  To use this feature, just check the “Also show present-day county lines” checkbox in the lower left of the map on the Historical U.S. Counties on Google Maps tool.  When you check that box, you’ll see thin red lines (present-day county lines) … Read more

How you may be sabotaging your search for ancestors…and how to fix it!

UPDATED MARCH 2020: NEW!  Let this FREE tool do the work for you as you search on Ancestry.com U.S. county boundaries have changed over 17,600 times since America was settled in colonial times. Don’t sabotage your search for ancestors by not knowing the correct county for the historical years you are researching. While searching on Ancestry, the free Historical U.S. Counties Auto-Checker extension for Google Chrome automatically checks that the county existed in the year you are searching, warns of boundary changes, and links to historical county lines on Google Maps for the place and years you are searching! Install … Read more

Genealogy falling, Ancestry rising

About 7 months ago, genealogy blogger James Tanner wrote about Google search trends showing a possible decline in the popularity of genealogy. Viewing the comments, some people speculated that perhaps people were getting better at doing Google searches by searching directly for people and places in their family history rather than just typing the word “genealogy” into Google. I speculate that is likely true; I also suspect people are using more specialized searches on sites such as Ancestry.com rather than just using Google.* However, another idea occurred to me today, and that is that perhaps the word genealogy itself is … 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

First day of 23andMe test results, and already a breakthrough!

I’ve been a FamilyTreeDNA customer for a couple of years, and I’ve had great success with using DNA testing combined with traditional genealogical research to break through one brick wall so far (see here https://www.randymajors.org/2010/12/man-who-wasnt-john-charles-brown). I recently became a 23andMe customer as well…their holiday special was just too good to pass up! Well, I started receiving my test results a couple of days ago for the Health Edition, and yesterday for the Ancestry Edition of 23andMe.  I’m excited to say that I already have lots of matches to explore, and have already received about a half dozen requests to make contact, … Read more