On the move? Map tools now let you update your location automatically

What is my current elevation

As before, to show your current location while using any of the map tools on this website, you can click the ◉ button in the upper right corner of the map. But now you can keep clicking the ◉ button to set it to automatically update your location on the map in 1, 5 and 10 minute intervals. Bonus: Monthly Contributors also get an option to update every 0.2 minutes (12 seconds). This might be useful when you are: on the road and need to know what jurisdiction you are in (e.g. city, township, county and state) need to know … Read more

Website Infrastructure Updated: You may need to clear your browser cache

randymajors.org Site Screenshot

Good news: In an effort to improve the performance of the various map and search tools, the randymajors.org website infrastructure has been updated over several days this week. Action: As a result, if you experience any unexpected issues when viewing the map and search tool pages, try doing a hard refresh of the page using Ctrl+F5. If something still isn’t working quite right, please clear your browser cache, exit all browsers and go back in. This should solve 99% of issues, but if you still are having any trouble, please get in touch using the Help link at the bottom … Read more

Sharing Maps just got a lot more powerful

Now, when you share a link to any live map tool on randymajors.org, the recipient will be taken to exactly the same view you were seeing when you shared it.  The link you share will remember: the map tool you were using (County Lines on Google Maps, ZIP Codes on Google Maps, Historical U.S. Counties on Google Maps, Section Township Range on Google Maps, etc.) the zoom level of the map the center point of the map the location of the blue map marker (determined by the spot you had last clicked on the map) the other layers you had made … 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

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

How can you see city limits on Google Maps?

Short answer…you can’t. Except for one at a time, like this, where I typed “St Louis” in standard Google Maps: But what if (for some reason) you want to see ALL of the city limits in an area.  Well now you can here:  City Limits on Google Maps It looks like this: The city limits can be very detailed and so may take a few moments to draw: Despite this being somewhat of a mess to look at, I’ve had several people who have been using my County Lines on Google Maps tool who have requested being able to view city … Read more

Google Maps service fully restored on randymajors.org

Following a couple of days of problems, Google Maps functionality has been fully restored on the randymajors.org website and the following tools should be fully operational again: County Lines on Google Maps Historical U.S. County Boundary Maps Historical World Boundary Maps ZIP Codes on Google Maps Background:  Over the last couple of days, there had been many reports of “over query limit” and rate-limit problems when people were using the above tools.  Working with Google support, those limits have been reset. This issue was caused by pricing changes that Google has put in place for users of the Google Maps … Read more

First County Lines, now ZIP Code boundaries on Google Maps!

QUICK LINK TO ZIP CODES:  ZIP Codes on Google Maps QUICK LINK TO COUNTY LINES:  County Lines on Google Maps After the great response to my County Lines on Google Maps tool, I’ve heard a number of suggestions for other types of boundaries that Google Maps doesn’t show.  One that has come up a number of times is for ZIP Codes. Yes, you can see one ZIP Code boundary at a time on Google Maps desktop version, but that’s of limited use if you’re trying to see all of the ZIP Codes in an area and don’t know what they are … 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