16 January 2024

7 Free Genealogy Map Projects

Mapping your ancestors' locations can help you better understand their stories. It can help you answer some lingering questions. And it may be the best way to get your relatives interested in your genealogy research.

Here are 7 free genealogy map projects you're sure to enjoy.

These 7 free genealogy research map projects add value and interest to your family tree.
These 7 free genealogy research map projects add value and interest to your family tree.

1. A Virtual Drive-by of Your Ancestors' Hometown

Looking at a regular map-view online or on paper does nothing to give you a feel for your ancestors' hometown. But if you sit at your desk and "drive" down the streets, you'll get a more accurate impression of the place. Honestly, I could do this for hours. Read "How to Visit Your Ancestral Hometown at Your Desk."

2. Create a Genealogy Vacation Itinerary on Your Phone

The last time I visited my dad's first cousins in Italy, the GPS led us a bit astray. We couldn't find the house. So I took out my iPhone, opened up my customized map, and saw exactly where to turn. Imagine having your map of family locations with you on your phone for your next trip to their town. Read how to "Create a Digital Map of Your Family History."

3. Mapping Places That Are No Longer There

I'd always heard that my ex-mother-in-law didn't know if her family was German or Polish. In her family's documents, I saw them identified as Prussian, Polish, German, and West Prussian. The difference was the time-period of each document and what was happening in Europe. With a bit a research, I created an overlay map that places the family firmly in Poland. Find out how in "Finding Ancestral Homelands That Are No Longer There."

4. Find New Clues by Mapping Every Location

My great grandfather Giovanni has a lot of mystery about him. Most intriguing to me is his business relationship with a local brewery in the Bronx. This part of his life is entirely lost in family lore. But, by mapping his every address and digging into the history of the brewery, I came up with a theory. See how this can help your research by reading "Mapping Your Ancestors Can Answer Questions."

5. Get More Precise With Addresses

When I saw how many addresses weren't mapped correctly in Family Tree Maker, I found a way to make them more precise. Find out how to "Pinpoint Important Places in Your Family Tree."

6. Find Clusters by Mapping Every Location All at Once

I used a combination of free software tools for this project. It showed me graphically how clustered together all my direct ancestors were. It's astonishing—especially when my closest relatives are now spread all over the United States. See how to create a detailed map of everyone in your family tree in "Where Will Your Roots Map Take You?"

7. Bring Your Ancestry Home With a Map for the Relatives

You spend so much time enjoying your family research. But do your close relatives know what you've discovered? I found out my 1st cousin didn't know that his grandmother came from the same town as my grandfather. So I knew I had to give him a visual. This project uses Google Maps to plot all the ancestors of your closest cousins. It's a real eye-opener for your relatives. Find out how to make it interactive in "Make an Easy Ancestral Map for the Cousins."

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