Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Family History Month - LOCATIONS

~Today's prompt is brought to you by the letter L~

Do you use a database program for your genealogy?   A great reason to use a database program is that you can standardize information.  One of those key pieces of information is locations.  The first statistics we look for in genealogy are name, date, event and place (or location).  Being able to correctly determine and plot location is important in terms of knowing where to search for additional information about ancestors.  Learning the locations is important to help us place our family in a geographical chronology. 

How do you keep track of your genealogy locations?  How do you check to make sure your information is correct?  Do you have misspellings of town names or counties?  Do you have a county listed at a time when it did not exist?  Today why not spend some time going through your master location list (whether in your genealogy database or your paper based program) and clean it up where necessary. 

  • Check out the master location list that is part of your genealogy database program - really spend some time learning how to make the best use of it. 
  • A helpful site that can operate as a check of sorts in this regard is Standard Finder by FamilySearch.  You can use this program to determine proper spellings of locations, to check if locations exist, as well as to determine alternate name spellings and variants of those locations.
  • Once you have your locations in good order, there are several mapping programs that will read your genealogy database program and map or plot your location information for you.  Check out Map My Family Tree or Family Atlas.  Both programs are relatively easy to use and can give you a new perspective on the various locations in your family tree. 
  • Two programs that will provide a bit of historical context with your locations are Animap Plus (for North America) and The Centennia Historical Atlas (for Europe & the Middle East). 
  • Finally, don't forget to check out Google Earth which has a wealth of information, a free download program and tutorials that explain how to use the program.  

(photo by digital artist Salvatore Vuono and provided by FreeDigitalPhotos.net ~ thanks)

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