52 Ancestors Week 39: Map It Out

+15 votes

Time for the next 52 Ancestors challenge!

Please 52 Ancestors and 52 Photos sharing challenge badgesshare with us a profile of an ancestor or relative who matches this week's theme:

Map It Out

From Amy Johnson Crow:

Week 39 is "Map It Out." (Fun fact: I can fold a highway map. It's a dying art.) Maps are *so* useful in our research. What discoveries have you made using a map? (Maybe you found that two ancestors were living closer to each other than you realized.) What types of maps have you used? Have you used a map to interest the non-genealogists in the family? Feel free to interpret this theme however you'd like!

Share below!

Participants who share every week can earn badges. If this is your first time participating and you don't have the participation badge, or if you pass a milestone (13 in 13, 26 in 26, 52 in 52) let us know hereClick here for more about the challenge. 

in The Tree House by Eowyn Langholf G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
edited by Eowyn Langholf

45 Answers

+9 votes

This is a google map of the area where most of my grandmaternal family lived. When it is visible, you can see how small the area actually is.

(The link opens a download, don't worry, it's only a picture of a map.)

by Jelena Eckstädt G2G6 Pilot (259k points)
edited by Jelena Eckstädt
Link doesn't work for me and image doesn't show.  Is it attached to a privacy-restricted profile?
Julie, if you hover over the "This", it'll change its look, and there is the link

Here is what I see

I see beside the square the word "This". I don't know why you don't see it, but there is the link. Maybe it works with a simple link. I don't know. 

Maybe someone else can comment.  Maybe it's a browser issue.  I'm using Safari for Mac.  Sorry, but the additional link you provided isn't working for me either.
it opens DriveOnWeb. German site. The map downloads.

 I am using Chrome, so I don't know if that matters.. Looks like a circle of waypoints around Ehringshausen.
I’m using Safari on my iPad and the link is seen accurately and opens to the map - so not a Safari issue per se.
you two show me the site works the way it should. Thanks for that. I created a "walking tour" through towns where my relatives lived. Inside that circle most of them were located.
I also use Safari on an iMac and often have browser issues. I also regularly use the FireFox browser, switching to FireFox usually solves the issue.
Works as it should in IE (yes, I still use IE) allowing me to choose to save or open.  Same with Edge .. but Opera actually downloaded it to my computer without giving me a choice to open or download (which could be an issue if there were anything wrong with the file).
Thanks to everyone who provided their experience.  Next time I will try other browsers first.  However, I do want to add that when I switched to Chrome, the link opened and began a download without my assent, just as it did for Melanie.
With Safari on my Mac, I had to give it permission to download, then I could look at it. It was a great picture. Glad you shared.
Maybe there is a Preference or something on my computer that I could change, but I can't find it.  That doesn't usually happen when I access websites.
+20 votes

Week 39 Ancestor

My maternal grandma Caryl Pruett Showalter lived in a logging camp in Humboldt County, California from 1919 - 1924.  It was a company town named Crannell (also called Bulwinkle). She shared many stories with me about growing up there.  It was razed to the ground in the late 1960's.  This weekend I found a map of the town online.  I am going to use it along with the 1920 census to learn more about her life there.  I love maps.  Great topic this week.


Map of Crannell

by Caryl Ruckert G2G6 Pilot (144k points)
edited by Caryl Ruckert
+19 votes
Back in the 1950s my father, John William Sims (1919-1983), owned and I {Billsims (1941-....)} worked in what used to be called a "Service Station".  

When you bought gas there really was service provided.  

The hood was raised so the water levels, battery connections and oil levels could be checked ...  all the windows were washed on the outside and even inside if it was requested ... the floors were swept out ...  then all tire pressures were checked.  All of this service was free of charge ... and gas was about 15 cents a gallon.

You maybe asking, what does this have to do with maps?  Well, it is recalled that one other service provided by almost all service stations was to provide free maps of the state or city in which it was located.

It is also recalled that my grandmother, Oma M Allison-Rammel, was a corrector of such maps.  Almost every time she went to a different service station she would pick up a map or two.

In the 1960s I traveled a lot for my employer ... so I would try to pick up some maps for her ... I recall that she had maps from every state in the "Good Old USA" and numerous other places.

I often wonder whatever became of  boxes of maps she was so proud of?
by Bill Sims G2G6 Mach 3 (33.2k points)
I still have a few of those old gas station maps.
+18 votes

This is a fantastic search engine for historical maps of all kinds. Many are very high resolution and can be downloaded free of charge. Old Maps Online.

Here's the place my great grandparents called home.  

by C Ryder G2G6 Mach 4 (42.4k points)
Old maps like the one you posted are a treasure. I found an 1850 tax map of Muskingum County. It was an enormous image. I wondered how many hours were spent creating it.
Oh, I have old timers from Muskingum County too! As you can see they drifted farther west.

I found mine through the Library of Congress. I was surprised how many maps are available!

Thanks very much for the link, C. Ryder.  What a great resource.
+18 votes

My 3rd great-grandfather Dr. Increase Mathews journeyed from Massachusetts to the Ohio frontier in 1798. He kept a diary while he journeyed and it was published in the NEHGR in 1932. Increase traveled without any road map. Back then there were only two routes to take: (1) through New York and then boat to the Ohio River or (2) through the mountains of Pennsylvania.

In 1998, Kurt L. White (President of the Muskingum County Historical Society) and his son Nathan reversed the trip. They traveled back to Massachusetts from Ohio. Even with how the land had changed in 200 years (due to highways and railroads) they were able to follow his route until they reached central Massachusetts.

Here, they had a hard time finding New Braintree, Massachusetts. In the Summer 2005 volume of Muskingum Journal, Kurt wrote about his difficulties:

"The county is divided into smaller political units called townships...Each is named for the largest, sometimes the only, village within. This can create some confusion. When I was lost at the intersection of two township roads, I asked for directions to New Braintree. A farmer replied that we were in New Braintree. To reach the town, one must ask to go to New Braintree 'centre'. I purchased a map of Worcester, only to discover that it was just a city, not a county map." 

Kurt and his son eventually found the New Braintree house where Increase and his siblings were born.                                                                                                .       .                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

by Diane Hildebrandt G2G6 Mach 2 (26.5k points)
+18 votes

This is a map of Oklahoma Indian Territory, and the section in red is the land allocated for the 1893 Land Run. This is the land run my great grandmother Phoebe Palestine Morris and sister made together, and most of her family also made. My great grandfather Alvin Porter Long made this run and acquired land next to Phoebe’s. The Oklahoma University football fans will recognize the “Boomer Sooner Oklahoma” song.The Boomers made the land run when the gun went off, and the Sooners snuck in early and got the best land. Many of us in Oklahoma are here because of the homestead act, as the land was free.

by Alexis Nelson G2G6 Mach 8 (89.3k points)
Thank you for this map, my gg-grandfather Riddle D. Baker moved from Weakley County, TN to Burnet County, TX sometime between 1880 and 1898 when his daughter married in TX.  By 1900 he had moved his family into Carter County, Indian Territory.  They lived at Hoxbar in the early 1900's.  I need to do research on the building of the dam that formed the lake the flooded the area where Hoxbar was.
Leslie, thank you for liking the map. Hope you can find the answers about Hoxbar.
+17 votes

My 3G Grandfather, John Wesley Truslow, was a jeweler/clockmaker.  I found the location of his shop at 313 E. Main St., Johnson City, TN, using a Sanborn Fire Map fro 1890.    

by Dorothy Truslow G2G4 (4.8k points)
Dorothy, I have used the Sanborn Fire Maps to find a lot of historical places in my hometown. It is nice to see that someone else has found them useful.
My Swadley and Bowman family lines had farms located just outside Johnson City, Tn. in the Knob Creek and Boones Creek communities just west of town.
+14 votes

I am rather fond of Maps, and have a large collection. You never know when your GPS/phone will have no signal. I've created several space pages with maps: Connecticut Colony: New Haven Colony: Bishop Sources. You have to scroll down to see the maps in Bishop Sources.

But since this is 52 Ancestors not "Maps" I'll introduce my great-great grandfather Seth Bishop. He was born Feb 29th in a leap year. And he lived in a place called Kinney's Corner. Kinney's Corner as you may suspect was literally the corner where Giles Kinney lived. Kinney's Corner is part of Bluff Point, Jerusalem Township, Yates Co., New York. It's near Keuka Lake. Several generations of my ancestors and relations lived in the area and in nearby areas. Seth built bus bodies. It's been fun exploring these areas at home using the maps that I have and could locate on line and then using the maps to travel the area where my ancestors trod.

by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
+16 votes

When I find a new fact about someone I'm researching, I want to be sure I have the same person. That leads me to check the facts, especially if a new place is involved. Was the new place near to old or far? How could they get there? What was the attraction or repellent? Maps help a lot. Researching the life and family of George Mathers in Scotland while I'm in western Canada is a recent example. George was born in Drumsturdy Muir and lived long in Woodside, Murroes. Maps placed him. Moving to his children, David lived in Dublin, Ann lived in Fraserburg, Andrew went to Broughty Ferry, William to Hobart (what? yes, Tasmania) and Alexander to Macduff, Banffshire. Only maps could have given me a sense of how far they went. At times documents showed why, but please could I call them up to ask more?

by Judith Chidlow G2G6 Mach 3 (32.4k points)
+15 votes
I've found researching the old land survey/warrant records have been very helpful and have provided a couple surprises.  When I came across some land records for Amos McDaniel (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/McDaniel-4986) and his children, I was able to locate other McDaniel relatives that it was unknown where they had been residing.
by Eric McDaniel G2G6 Mach 3 (33.4k points)
+16 votes

Our Ranck family ancestors are most likely Palatinate (German) folk who somehow fell into a fantasy genealogy about a hundred years ago.  The Ranck family seems to have fallen victim to the Gustav Anjou Fraud and one of the Ranck descendants took poetic licencse and turned Hans Ranck Sr. and Hans Ranck Jr. into French Huguenots who fled the French Crown after the Edict of Nantes that doomed tens of thousands of Huguenots to death.

Groundbreaking research by modern Ranck researchers have cast a light on the fantastic claims of French descent and suggested that our lowly Ranck ancestors are in fact German.  The Rancks, who first appear in records of the little village of Neckarau (just outside Mannheim, Germany) migrated to Pennsylvania in 1729.  One of the researchers quierried that if the Rancks fled from France to Germany and then came to America, there shouldn't be any Rancks left in Germany.

I made a space page to chart my research:


Location of Ranck families in the area at the time of migration:

With more and more German records coming on line I did a search and found that there are MANY Ranck families within walking distance of Neckarau.  I used a map to chart the distances and the locations of the other Ranck families.

Better yet, I've been able to contact some of their descendants and we are trying to arrange a YDNA test to compare the two Ranck families.  If a match, then we will know that the French connection was just a romantic fantasy.

by SJ Baty G2G6 Pilot (639k points)
Oui Oui Cousin!  They were just regular old Germans but that isn't nearly as exciting as the Huguenot fable. ;)
The proof that "fake news" has always been around, and so have debunkers!
+16 votes

I have spent a lot of time recently working on reorganisation of Ireland categories, especially for County Antrim.

There are some great resources on the Internet which document Ireland places and provide maps, including townlands.ie, logainm.ie, placenamesni.org, PRONI historical maps, Griffith's Valuation. Unfortunately these sites don't always agree on townland, parish or county boundaries or spellings so in some cases maps from different sources need to be compared so a judgement can be made about what is correct.

A big part of the reorganisation work has been reviewing the categories assigned to exising profiles and updating them to the appropriate category in the new structure.

One profile I worked on was Alexander Graham.
Alexander's marriage record says he was from Shoptown in County Antrim, but Shoptown is not a known townland or modern settlement.

The placenamesni.org web site had an entry for Shoptown in Glenwhirry townland in Glenwhirry parish but Shoptown was not located on its maps.

I eventually found Shoptown on the Griffith's Valuation web site by searching on Glenwhirry parish and carefully examining the 1840 historical map.

That helped me to identify the correct location on Google Maps.

I later discovered Google maps does have a place named Shoptown but it is actually in the wrong place about half a mile to the east of the true location. In 1840 this place was known as Reddale.


by Ray Hawkes G2G6 Mach 2 (25.7k points)
+14 votes

My 10X great grandfather, Ezekiel Richardson, came from Westmill, Hertfordshire, England with Winthrop's fleet.   https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Richardson-25

Image result for richardson row woburn ma

The old photo above is titled 'Pilgrim Row,' Westmill for the number of people, including the Richardsons, who migrated from Westmill to the colonies.

Soon after he arrived, his brothers, Joseph and Thomas, also of Westmill, joined Ezekiel. They were early settlers of Woburn, MA. The three brothers settled in the same region of Woburn adjacent to Horn Pond. This region became known as 'Richardson's Row.' Below is an early map of Richardson's Row, which became Richardson Street abutting the Horn Pond canal. Current maps still show 'Richardson Street' that ends at Horn Pond.

Richardson's Row, Woburn, MA

by Carol Baldwin G2G6 Pilot (102k points)
edited by Carol Baldwin
+10 votes

Exploring San Pietro a Maida and Gesualdo, birth places of my paternal grandfather and paternal great-grandparentshttps://allroadhaverhill.blogspot.com/2019/09/52-ancestors-week-39-map-it-out.html

It's a big world, Hobbes ol' buddy. Let's go exploring.

by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (256k points)
+13 votes

I recently used online maps to determine that my Lancashire-based great-great-great-Grandfather John Crewe (not so long ago discovered to have been Welsh, not English .. EXCITING!) did not, in fact, come from "Wrekin, Pembrokeshire" as stated in one census.  "The Wrekin", part of east Shropshire, England (and, yes, Shropshire is bordering on Wales), is nowhere near Pembrokeshire.

(Full size on click.)

What this meant for me was a hunt for possible "sound-alikes".  My "best guess" so far is Trecwn, which is in Pembrokeshire.  For now, though, pending better (and confirmed) information, I chose to simply use "Pembrokeshire".

by Melanie Paul G2G6 Pilot (223k points)
+16 votes

Recently I have been working on a cemetery in the town I live in.  I chose it because it was quite small and this was my first attempt at documenting a cemetery. I did not need a map, it was right there in front of me.  The Brother Jonathan Memorial/Cemetery is in the middle of the Brother Jonathan Park, taking up about 1/4 of the park which is about 1 block by 2 blocks.

Then on doing more research at the historical society, I came across a map of the possible original boundaries of the cemetery, then called the Old Masonic Cemetery.  That cemetery (with no park) covered about 6 blocks by 7 blocks.

The most interesting thing I learned was that many of the graves were "lost" and are still in the ground in this larger area.  But today they are covered by the park and a number of homes.

There is much more research to do, which I'm looking forward to.  But this little cemetery has turned into a big project, and finding this map is only the beginning.

by Robin Shaules G2G6 Pilot (437k points)
+11 votes

I was digging around this past weekend (wonder of wonders I was ALL ALONE all day on Sunday, no one to cook for, no one to rag on about homework, no one to ask me to drive them somewhere, and my 92 year old mom was 100 miles away doing just fine :) I was looking into the family of James Richard Driver. I found a reference to son Ezekiel in "1800 United States Federal Census Territory Northwest of the River Ohio Washington Newtown”  and lo and behold it looks like some kind of map!  There was an Ezekiel Driver wayyyy down in the lower right corner! Trouble is, he is boxed in with an Abner Driver and an Issac Driver, so now I have to go find out who those guys are and if its my Ezekiel  Another day I guess …..  I couldn't make the image link work so you have to click. The image pops right up! :)[https://drive.google.com/file/d/1e_CMsff74nGYrpFVwgqQeK5a2rqsLxAi/view?usp=sharing]


by Lyn Sara Gulbransen G2G6 (9.1k points)
edited by Lyn Sara Gulbransen
+11 votes

I love maps.  I frequently Google the places my ancestors lived in and try to figure how they got from one place to the next.  It’s fun to see where ancestor parents lived so close to each other that it was inevitable that they would meet.  And then there are the couples that I can find no reason at all for them to meet.  I want to thank C. Ryder again for the link to the old maps online.  As I have mentioned before our family has a huge wall map of Carroll county in New Hampshire dated 1860.  It has the names of the residents attached to the houses which is wonderful.  Now, thanks to Ryder, I have access to the 1892 maps for Moultonboro and Sandwich so I can see who moved where.  Here is the title box from our family map:

If anyone can tell me how to turn this right side up I would really appreciate it.

by Ward Hindman G2G6 (10k points)

Rotate it before you upload it.

( https://www.wikitree.com/photo.php/3/3d/ADWP-388.png )

Thanks Melanie.  I don't know why it worked for you but doesn't work for me. Doesn't seem to matter how i turn the file copy, it always shows up the way it was taken.

Did you take it — and upload it — with a phone/tablet, or a camera+computer?

Any photographs I take with the phone, get bluetoothed over to the computer before I upload them.  I am more than happy to help right-side-up them!  smiley

(I've seen a few others with this same complaint.)

+11 votes

This is a map showing the Clipper Route taken by the S.S. Brothers which bought Thomas Mayoh and his family from England to Australia in 1841. 

by David Urquhart G2G6 Mach 5 (55.9k points)
edited by David Urquhart
+11 votes

I use maps a lot when doing research to scope out the land in which my ancestors are born, migrated, and died.  It's often a useful tool to determine if the locations and/or connections are correct (i.e., seeing the distance between places, especially during periods before cars were invented).  But the maps I enjoyed the most were looking closely at the lands my German ancestors migrated to in Volga, Russia.  

They migrated there to dry farm the land, and in the early 1900's, my grand grandparents migrated from Volga, Russia, to Fresno, California, due to similar dry farming landscape.  

by William Catambay G2G6 Mach 1 (16k points)

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