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

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

Now you can get access to an AD-FREE version of AncestorSearch on Google Search too!

Back in December, I announced a way to get access to all of the map tools AD-FREE and FULL-SCREEN. I’m pleased to announce an AD-FREE option is now available for AncestorSearch on Google Search as well! The functionality is identical, but with no ads: The ad-free versions of the map and search tools are formatted to work equally well on your smartphone or tablet too! All the details are on this page:  NEW:  Enjoy ALL of the map and search tools AD-FREE and FULL-SCREEN! GOOD NEWS:  If you have already signed up for access to the ad-free map tools, you now … Read more

Enjoy ALL of the map and search tools AD-FREE and FULLSCREEN!

Over the years, I’ve had lots of requests for a way to subscribe to the map and search tools on randymajors.org rather than having advertisements displayed. This has been a challenge, as I want to keep the tools free of charge for everyone to use, and the advertising helps offset the significant costs associated with the development and operation of the tools. I’m excited to say that you now have an opportunity to choose what works best for you:      Free map tools supported by advertising (left/top), AD-FREE FULLSCREEN map and search tools (right/bottom) The above screenshots are from … Read more

Check out the new Custom Maps on Google Maps tool

The new Custom Maps on Google Maps makes it easy to create your own custom Google Map using any combination of ZIP Codes, counties, cities and more! You can use this tool to quickly create: sales territory maps delivery area maps service area maps …all on Google Maps! If your territory is composed of dozens of ZIP Codes, you can choose to ‘merge’ them to show an overall territory boundary.  Then, add your own title to the map, and even choose colors. An example link you create looks like this: https://www.randymajors.org/customgmap?mapbuilder=true&zips=10023,10024,10025,10026&zipboundary=show&title=My+Service+Territory The resulting map would look something like this: Be … Read more

A quick update on the increased speed of the mapping tools

After some infrastructure upgrades, all of the randymajors.org mapping tools are now operating faster!  In my time tests, I was seeing drawing speeds that were 2.5x to 3x faster than before the upgrade. The very largest of map layers, such as Section Township Range on Google Maps, seem to see the biggest improvement (drawing in 5-6 seconds now vs 25-30 seconds before the upgrade), although other layers such as Historical Counties, County Lines and ZIP Codes also drew about 2x faster that before. So you should on average see the information panel above the maps update a bit faster and … Read more

A Colorful Post about City Limits and ZIP Codes

This post is all about color.  In particular, adding color to the city limits and ZIP Codes in these tools: City Limits on Google Maps ZIP Codes on Google Maps A few people have wondered if I could add color to the city limits — you know — kind of like in those old Rand McNally road atlases, or National Geographic maps. Now, the city limits are colored in by default.  So when you use the City Limits map tool, the map will look like this: This should make it much easier to distinguish the individual cities, especially in large metropolitan … Read more

Create a custom County Lines map or ZIP Code-based Sales/Service/Delivery Area map on the fly — overlaid on Google Maps

I’ve had requests from several people to add the capability to create links on their website that would open up the County Lines on Google Maps tool already focused on their region of interest. Several have also wondered if there is a way to create a ZIP Code-based Sales/Service/Delivery Area map on the fly. Now you can!  Here’s how it works: Create a map zoomed to a State and show County Name labels To simply zoom to a state and optionally show county name labels and a map title, create a link such as this: https://www.randymajors.org/countygmap?state=CT&onestate=show&labels=show TIP: copy/paste the links … Read more

Show me ALL of the names!

You’ve always been able to search or click on the map and have information about the ONE spot where you clicked appear at the bottom of the map, like this: “But wouldn’t it be nice,” many people have asked over the years, “to see ALL of the names of the counties on the map rather than just the one that I clicked?”  Or something to that effect. Now you can.  Just go to the Historical U.S. Counties on Google Maps tool and check “Show labels…” checkbox in the lower left corner of the map, and your map will be pleasantly … 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