Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How Far is Youlgreave from Doncaster? And Other Geography Questions

My sister told me about a new TV series (well, new to me!) called The Generations Project, and I read a post on their blog about Geography.  This reminded me of another tip I should share with you -- using maps in genealogy research!

Ten years ago (tomorrow, actually, happy anniversary honey!) I married an Englishman, and found I had a whole new line of genealogy to research, from scratch, and having never researched England genealogy.  No one had ever attempted his family history, so I set about doing it.  While I was researching I would ask him numerous questions such as, "Is Youlgreave close to Doncaster?," "Is Balby in Yorkshire County?"  I soon learned how much my husband DIDN'T know about his own country, so I was on my own.

I have looked at historical maps and actually have a software program called AniMap* for US research, but I still revert to Google Maps for simple and quick answers to my geography questions.  I really like the "Get Directions" section to map how far Youlgreave was from Doncaster in England, to help me decide whether a genealogy "find" could be relevant or not.  (I have found that my husband's family did not migrate much at all in England.)

Also, I love using Google Maps to check/correct the spelling of town names with their helpful hints such as:  "Did you mean Plaistow instead of Playstow?"

I have always loved maps and still to this day read a map as we are driving to vacation destinations (I love to read about nearby historical sites, etc.)  By including map research in my genealogy over the years, I think I can claim to now know more about England's geography than my husband does!


*AniMap:  Finds old towns and counties long-since disappeared from the map or that have changed names. AniMap displays over 2,300 maps to show the changing county boundaries for each of the adjacent United States for every year since colonial times.  I have such an old version of this software, but I did find that is now selling it here.

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