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Formerly published by GlobalGazette.ca



Using Maps For Family History Research
Column published: 14 February 2008
By: Shirley Gage Hodges   Biography & Archived Articles


The family genealogist often wants to find a map that will show where an ancestor was born, lived, fought in a war, owned property or died. Maps are one of the many avenues of research available to the genealogist. Sometimes maps aren't used as much as they should be because most folks don't realize what a treasure trove of information is hidden in these sources. To truly understand our ancestors we must learn how and where they lived. Using maps can help us fill in the details between the cradle and the rocking chair and tell the complete story of our ancestor's lives.

To really understand our ancestors we need to learn about the geographical locations that they lived in. The place that they lived in isn't just a speck on a map. We have to understand how the geographic area they lived in may have influenced where they went to church and where they went to record their births and marriages. A natural feature such as a river or mountain may have greatly influenced their decisions.

Stated rather simplistically, a map is a picture or representation of the Earth's surface, showing how things are related to each other by distance, direction, and size. Maps are a way of showing many things about a portion of the earth's surface on a flat piece of paper that can be carried and transported easily.

No one map can contain all known information about a given part of the earth's surface. The researcher should search for the best map to suit their purpose.

Different types of maps: Web pages for Maps and Directories: Until next time :)

Shirley Hodges, biography & genealogy lectures; email: genealogyshirl@hotmail.com


Editor's Note: Shirley Hodges is the author of the popular Guide to United States Census, 1790-1930





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