Could the current default link to search for place names on google maps be changed to FamilySearch Map search please?

+5 votes

Would be appropriate to ask that the default Map Search be changed if possible from Google Maps Search to that of FamilySearch Map Search?

I have found that the FamilySearch Map Search handles historic place names much better. Try it and see for yourself. It still use Google but with the FamilySearch in between. Correct link is here The above one is to the England and Wales wiki :)

in WikiTree Tech by Louis Heyman G2G6 Mach 7 (72.0k points)
edited by Louis Heyman
Louis, I adjusted a couple of the tags on your question, using my Android phone, and your link to FamilySearch Map Search disappeared! I'm sorry.

I think this is a bug related to Android or G2G. I'll refrain from retagging questions with links, but the damage here is already done.

EDITED: I've restored the link that I believe was intended.
Hi Ellen, thanks for trying, I'm back online again.☺
Seeing as how I'm in the United States, I don't know how I ended up in England and Wales. That's the only thing that came up when I searched for FamilySearch Map Search!

Lest there be any question, the desired link is

3 Answers

+3 votes
I tried it for small villages near me, and it didn't find anything - I think its coverage is more patchy than Google, or maybe only finds larger settlements?
by Deborah Pate G2G6 Mach 4 (44.6k points)
I realize the database is growing at the moment Deborah. But did you see that you can provide Feedback and did you read the about section?
+5 votes

I tried it by searching for Belfast, the historic name for Port Fairy on the South coast of the State of Victoria in Australia.

Family Search shows me  the District of Victoria, in South Australia, Australia - with the map pin in the North Pacific Ocean, North East of  Tokyo, Japan !

( I'm happy for Google Maps to remain as the default.)

by Peter Knowles G2G6 Mach 6 (65.7k points)

Hi Peter, Yeah at the moment I have to agree with you that google maps are more complete. Did you know that WikiTree is using the FamilySearch API for place names. Do yourself a favour and read the About Place Research section. Purpose.


Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.

Marcus Aurelius

As time progresses places are built, destroyed, renamed or conquered. As researchers track family histories across centuries, it becomes important to track the historical context of places as well.

Place Research is a FamilySearch application which provides access to standardized information about locations. This information is used by several FamilySearch applications to assist researchers in searching for exact spellings, checking whether locations exist, as well as determining alternate name spellings/variants to expand research.

The immensity of the data being collected and cross-referenced is enormous and ever-growing. If you come across information you feel is incorrect or incomplete, please use the feedback link so we can make corrections and improve this data for future work.


+3 votes

I see one significant advantage from the FamilySearch map search function: It recognizes some historical place names that Google Maps doesn't know about. My best example of this: I tried searching for "Wiltwyck, New Netherland" and FamilySearch showed me a map that correctly associates the historical name Wiltwyck with modern-day Kingston, New York, and associates New Netherland with the Hudson River. In contrast, Google Maps cannot find New Netherland, but it does find some local features in Kingston that use the "Wiltwyck" name.

However, the FamilySearch label for Wiltwyck makes me cringe -- "Wiltwyck, Ulster, New York, British Colonial America." Wiltwyck was a Dutch name that wasn't in use under British control, when names like Ulster County and New York were applied. And FamilySearch fails when I try the Dutch spelling "Wiltwijck."

One advantage of Google Maps Search over FamilySearch is related to map scale. In modern searches Google often takes me to a map scale that is appropriate for the scale of the feature I was looking for (I get a smaller-scale map when I search for a state than when I'm searching for a neighborhood), while Family Search consistently serves up a very large-scale (hyperlocal) map for a modern name and a very small-scale map for a historical name.

by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
Hi Ellen,

I know, the current FamilySearch database is horrifying at times. The point is that we have here a working model that can be improved through feedback if it is used. It seems to me like each place is fixed and can be coupled to a time period name, which is what we need. The point is and that is the catch 22 situation, It would be fantastic to implement the database when it is complete. The problem is that if it is not used it will not improve through feedback.

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