Can the birthplaces of individuals sharing a common surname be plotted on a map?

+13 votes
I manage a couple of One Name Studies and would find that the ability to display graphically the movements of families across the globe would add a valuable dimension to these studies.
WikiTree profile: Michael Bissell --Benefiel
in WikiTree Tech by Michael Bissell --Benefiel G2G6 (6.6k points)
edited by Michael Bissell --Benefiel
I think it's time for me to give it a try. I will geet back to you in a few days. Remind me after SourceAThon if I will be too busy with it.

Ooh, Aleš. Using profile birth locations from one-name study category pages for an interactive heat map?

Now that would be another significant WikiTree differentiator. I don't know of any other genealogy site where member-administered studies can do that. Maybe even color differentiated by century of birth for the map points? Drill down and see demographic dispersion not only over geography but by time?

An automated ONS heat map would be huge. For ONS managers, no manual messing with the Google API or maintaining a spreadsheet. Add a profile to the study category, change a birth date and/or location on a profile: done deal. Just manage the profiles and the heat map stays current.

All you had to say was that you'd look into it, and now I'm already w-a-y down the road in my head.  :-)

That was my initial intent with WikiTree, since in my day job I am developing our geographic information system. All I do here is powerd by our program. Of course the state of location fields and other stuff I am doing put this intent on hold. Now locations improved a bit and I will have a look. I don't think I will geolocate all profiles with location, but I probably can start with a few hundred profiles.
In my Benefiel/Benefield/Bedingfield ONS I happen to have a few hundred profiles with 4 different spellings of the surname dating from the Norman Conquest that span two or three regions in England, several US regions in east coast, south, Midwest and west, some Caribbean locations, Tasmania and New Zealand.  I'd be honored if you'd use it as a test bed.


Fascinating! I have been on WikiTree a bit less than 2 months, and can see how much you've contributed. I'm still learning. I spent 35 years in software development, beginning work with mapping software in the middle 1970s, when we were developing technology that made GIS possible. It would be great to be able to query with spatial criteria combined with other fields like (a set of) LNAB, various dates, etc. with either tabular or graphic results. I know this is not as easy as it sounds.

The DNA Project is just in a beginning stage, I've done very little with it.  So far it is limited to the subset of the ONS profiles that represent theoretical direct contributors to my autosomal DNA sequence.  Of course other Benefiel genealogists have auDNA results posted on WikiTree but I have not yet tried to obtain raw sequence data for comparisons on GEDmatch or elsewhere.  Ethnicity estimates from auDNA results might be of possible interest in connection with mapping of surnames (Y-DNA).
Name is very generic. You should have Benefielin it. Check the DNA and ONS documentation.
Sorry Aleš, I don't follow..."Benefielin"? Please clarify, I'm happy to consider any improvements that may be necessary. Thanks.
Looks like a typo. DNA project category should hane your name <Benefiel> in the nname.
Got it. Thanks.

4 Answers

+8 votes

Hi Michael 

You might want to try this site from ISOGG.




by Linda Bell G2G6 Mach 3 (30.7k points)
Thanks Linda, I've now tried Family Atlas and had some success with it.
+5 votes

If you're maintaining your own data for the ONS, which I imagine you are, do some exploring at Google MyMaps: There's a learning curve to get the display exactly the way you want it--I'm assuming a "heat map" format that's interactive (zoom in and click)--but it may well be worth the time spent, and you can feed the map data into Google from a spreadsheet. There's a decent, basic, YouTube tutorial at There are others on YouTube, as well.

There are even third-party tools--some free, some for-fee--to simplify and/or enhance MyMaps; one I've used is A little Google-fu can find you several options.

by Edison Williams G2G6 Pilot (340k points)
Thanks Edison. I will have a look at Google MyMaps
I have my Maps link on my profile, to show we're my 3 x Great grandparents where born
I've been thinking about this too! You can also feed data into a spreadsheet (Google Sheets) with a form (Google Forms).....which I'm thinking could make data collection a lot easier. You could collaborate, have people add data to the spreadsheet by the form, and thereby make sure certain fields are filled in (required on the form), etc.
+5 votes
This would be a fantastic feature, if it is possible.
by Andrew Turvey G2G6 Mach 3 (35.9k points)
+5 votes


I would love this!  

My ancestors tended to move a lot. One family line had significant life milestones in New Hampshire (1770's), then Canada (Nova Scotia and the Madeleine Islands), then New England in the 1830's (NH & Mass.)  First:  they were hard to find & source!  Second:  How can I show their trail, which is fascinating in itself.

Let us know when this is out, and how to use it.  Wow!


by Janine Barber G2G6 Pilot (191k points)

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