Now use your current location on all randymajors.org mapping tools!

This enhancement applies all of the mapping tools on this website: County Lines on Google Maps ZIP Codes on Google Maps City Limits on Google Maps Township Range on Google Maps Location Explorer on Google Maps Climate Info on Google Maps Time Zones on Google Maps Area Codes on Google Maps Historical U.S. Counties on Google Maps On all of these randymajors.org mapping tools, you always had to start by typing in a city, address, place, etc. Now with this latest enhancement, if you want to know more about your current location, you can just click the “⊕ Locate” buttons in the upper … 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

For Your Maximum Viewing Pleasure

Yesterday, I released one of the most frequently requested features for the Historical U.S. County Boundary Maps tool (as a reminder, this tool lets you view on a Google Map the county boundaries as of any HISTORICAL date or year for ANY U.S. location!). The new functionality is simple but very useful:  the ability to work with a much larger map in an immersive full screen experience!  (Also, keep reading to learn of a couple more enhancements.) To go into fullscreen view, just hit the button in the upper right corner of the map, highlighted in redbelow.  You will see a much … Read more

Free online versions of my recent Family Tree Magazine articles

In my last post, I mentioned my recent articles I wrote for Family Tree Magazine.  There are now slightly modified free versions of the articles available on their website. The “Moving Targets” article is recast as “How to Use Old Maps to Find Missing Ancestors“, and my case study is found as “How to Use Old Maps & City Directories to Research House History“. I hope you enjoy the articles!

randymajors.org website and I featured in Family Tree Magazine

Many thanks to Family Tree Magazine for featuring me in their May/June 2017 “5 Questions” Q&A column, part of their regular “Genealogy Insider” section.  In other news: Who knew I was an insider? :) It was also great fun co-authoring an article with Sunny Jane Morton in the same issue of the magazine.  Previewed on the cover as “4 Ways to Find Ancestors with Old Maps”, the 8-page feature article beginning on page 48 is called “Moving Targets” and provides genealogy research suggestions for what to do when the ancestor you are researching apparently falls off the map. The article … Read more

History buffs: With one click, see a timeline of every county, state and country the spot where you’re standing has ever been a part of.

Just type in your address or city in the box at www.randymajors.org/maps, type a year as late as 2000, then click Go! County boundaries as of your chosen year will appear.  (Sorry for those outside the United States — this only works for U.S. locations) Now, find the check box just below the map, and click it. Sit back and travel back in time through every county, state, territory and country your red marker location ( ) has been a part of!  See the example below showing Durango, Colorado — part of La Plata County, Colorado today — all the … 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

AncestorSearch and the Historical Google Maps tools are back in action!

Sorry for the site outage the last 24 hours or so. A blogger.com configuration change triggered it, but all is back in working order now: AncestorSearch using Google Custom Search: searches using the full power of Google, and then filters exceptionally well so you’re more likely to find mentions of ancestors you otherwise might miss buried in thousands of Google search results.  Many people are surprised at what AncestorSearch finds, even for ancestors that they had searched for exhaustively over the years. Historical U.S. County Boundary Maps interactive tool: find the correct U.S. jurisdictions for the place and historical timeframe … Read more

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