Sunday, December 8, 2013

Google Maps and Genealogy

Earlier this past year I had some spare time and so I took the "Mapping with Google" course that is offered online by Google. This course covered using Google Maps and also Google Earth but not just as a simple user of those tools but how to get the most out of both of those product. For me and my slightly older (OK, long in the tooth) computer I didn't get as much out of the Google Earth part as I could have but that was only because of the age of the computer and it couldn't run the latest and greatest Google Earth software. However, Google Maps is a different story.

One of the projects you do is to make use of the Maps Engine system of Google Maps to place pins on a map and then share the results with others. Since genealogy is a passion/hobby/future career I thought that I might see about placing on a map some of the local cemeteries and genealogy resources.

Well, what started as a simple project morphed into something else a week later. I decided to map all the various places of interest to genealogy researchers that might be visiting the Ottawa, Ontario, Canada area. First I added in the museums, archives and libraries that I knew about that had resource material available. That was the easy part. Then over a period of several weeks I added in the cemeteries found in the Ottawa-Carleton and Gatineau regions. Fortunately there are a number of wonderful on-line Canadian sites that have pictures and details of cemeteries in these places:

 In addition I made use of the other well-known cemetery sites covering United States and Canada:

Using the information from those sites I could plot the cemeteries on the map and then add a link to where to find more details. The end result was this map of Genealogy Research in Ottawa:

Google map of genealogy related research places in Ottawa
Genealogy Research in Ottawa
The neat part about this tool is you could easily use it to map out the various cemeteries and other places in interest when you are planning to visit an area to do research. That way you can best make use of your valuable time and hopefully not get too lost trying to find that out of the way cemetery of your 4th great grandparents.

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