Friday, July 10, 2009 They've got it right

While at the 2009 NGS National Genealogical Society Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, I met with the developers of a new-to-me website - . They've got a great concept -- instead of connecting with other researchers by SURNAME, why not connect by PLACE?

"Connect your family tree at the touch of a button with Life Maps The traditional family tree gets a fascinating geographic dimension with our new Life Maps. Subscribers to Ancestral Atlas can now use the location data in their research to create a dynamic picture of their heritage and to map their family’s migration around the world. Those using GEDCOM files will have their locations automatically mapped. A simple click of a button creates Life Maps of individuals and complete family lines. "

In my discussions with Tony over at, Ol' Myrt here considers the PLACE an ancestor once lived almost more important than the surname, quite simply because by studying the place, we will discover not only the historical context for our ancestor, but will become aware of surviving record groups that may provide additional evidence of family relationships. (Just because we're good at researching in Virginia doesn't mean we know a darn thing about Iowa record groups.)

Ancestral is a method for coming into contact with others researching the same ancestral PLACE. Who better to learn from that other researchers who may have more experience with those distinct records groups for that particular PLACE? There method for communicating is "secure' meaning you don't have to share your email address if you don't wish to during the early stages of communication with another researcher.
Ol' Myrt here checked out the Facebook page for Ancestral Atlas and discovered that "All subscribers to Ancestral Atlas now have unlimited access to historical maps of England and Wales. The maps are the 1 inch to 1 mile Ordnance Survey maps, first published between 1893 and 1903. Lifetime subscription is currently only £15."
The overlay will help researchers understand where people tended to live in neighboring geographic areas -- making it a much easier task to consider alternative locations for finding additional family members and those who are researching them actively. Maps for Ireland and the US are coming soon.
Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

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