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

New feature: DRAW ANY SHAPE on the map to reveal all of the Counties, ZIP Codes, Cities, Townships and more

With all of the Map tools on the randymajors.org Research Hub, you’ve always been able to click on the map to know what ZIP Code, city, county or Section Township and Range that you clicked on. Now with this latest version of the map tools, you can DRAW ANY SHAPE and identify what’s there! Here are the simple steps: Click the “Drawing Tools…” button on the left side of the map Select the shape you want to draw (line, custom polygon or rectangle) in the upper left corner Draw any shape on the map and double-click the map when you’re … Read more

Try this one search to find the People Search sites that have YOUR private info, plus links to remove it

Does doing a Google search for your name turn up a ton of results from those annoying people search websites?  Now you can easily find which websites have your private information, and follow links to have your information deleted.  It’s easy and it’s free. Just go to PeopleSearch on Google Search, type your name and location (e.g. city or state) and choose “INCLUDE ONLY search results from people search sites” and the click the “Run Full Google Search” button.  The page looks like this: You can view the full description of the new functionality below the PeopleSearch tool under the heading “NEW!  How … Read more

Now AncestorSearch can cut through the muck of all of those annoying People Search sites

Does doing a Google search for your ancestors turn up a ton of results from those annoying People Search websites?  Now you can easily INCLUDE or EXCLUDE those websites from your search based on a new enhancement to AncestorSearch on Google Search! Now you can filter your AncestorSearch search results to EXCLUDE or to INCLUDE ONLY search results from major people search sites and social media sites.  The options look like this: You can view the full description of the new functionality below the AncestorSearch tool under the heading “NEW!  How to Filter Search Results from People Search sites and … Read more

Create a link to a map of ANY Section, Township and Range, including your CURRENT location

If you have a website that makes use of legal land descriptions, now you can quickly create a link to a map centered on any Section, Township and Range.  Or if you are traveling looking at large land parcels, you can see what Township, Range and Section you are currently* in. This is an advanced capability of the Section Township Range on Google Maps tool. To zoom into a particular Section, Township and Range, create a link such as this: https://www.randymajors.org/township-range-on-google-maps?state=CO&sec=15&t=4&td=N&r=69&rd=W Clicking this link takes you to this map: TIP: copy/paste the link above and customize to suit your needs … Read more

AncestorSearch Alert: Your ancestor is long gone, but Google may find something new tomorrow!

According to an internet study, Google is adding an average of 68 MILLION new web pages to its search index EVERY DAY! What if one of those new pages contains a mention of your ancestor? Think of all of the possibilities:  new archives coming online all the time, old books and newspapers being scanned, people writing genealogy blog posts, newly indexed records becoming searchable…and so much more.  So how do you make sure you don’t miss something important? To make it easier to remain informed about new pages that contain a mention of your ancestor, you can now SET A … Read more

Which U.S. states have which levels of local government…and why should I care?

This topic is more complicated than it sounds, so I’ll attempt to keep it high level. Whether you’re doing present-day or historical research about a place, it’s important to know which levels of local government exist in the state you are researching (e.g. counties, cities, townships).  Why should you care? It may determine which place houses the records you’re looking for The exact location often determines which local taxes are levied and which local laws are applicable  It determines who has jurisdiction for a given location (e.g. police, sheriff, etc.) In addition to providing some definitions, I’ll also point you … 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

Use your smartphone to instantly know what City, Township and County you are currently in

Have you tried the What County Am I In? tool?  Using your smartphone, it quickly lets you know what county you are currently in…as in where you are standing or sitting right now. And now, the What County Am I In? tool has been enhanced to also let you know what city you are in (if you are inside incorporated city limits), and what township you are in (if you are in a township). When you go to the tool’s web page (https://www.randymajors.org/what-county-am-i-in), you’ll see a map like the following, and the listing of the city, township and county you … Read more

County info added to Section Township Range on Google Maps tool, plus a tip for historical county research

Sometimes it’s hard to determine where you are when using Section, Township and Range Maps.  So to help provide more geographic context when searching for a land parcel, county information has now been added to the Section Township Range on Google Maps tool. For example, let’s do the following “Find parcel” at the bottom of the map: That will show the following map, now including the county name on top as well as dashed gray lines for the county boundaries, like this: Note the county name shown in the upper right (highlighted with the red box above), and the county line … Read more