27 October 2011

What do courthouses, cemeteries, churches, and libraries have in common?

Well, for the genealogist and historical researcher, they're all great places to look for historical sources and information on ancestors, historical figures, or the local area.  And they've recently been incorporated into my Historical U.S. County Boundary Maps tool!  Just check the "Show Research Locations" checkbox and then select which categories you want to show, and symbols will appear on the map:

Then, you can click an icon, and an info window will appear:

The name of the place and the Website are both hyperlinks, which will open up a Google Places page for more information on the place:

I've thought about having the cemetery info windows display links directly to that cemetery's findagrave listing (or a similar site).  Let me know in comments your ideas on what site(s) I should have the places link to.

By the way, when you choose "courthouses", you'll also see city halls; when you choose "churches", you'll also see synagogues, mosques, hindu temples, and other places of worship.

TIP:  The closer you zoom in, the more places you'll see.  This is because the map limits the number of places displayed to 20 to help cut down on clutter.  So when you're zoomed out too far only 20 places will appear, and many places will simply not appear until you zoom in closer to the area you want to explore.


6 comments:

  1. Very cool (and useful). Thanks, Randy!

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  2. very cool indeed, as far as the linking, I would think findagrave would be the best. I haven't found any other site with as consistent a list of cemeteries.

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  3. Hi, thanks for the positive remarks!

    I've added a Find A Grave link to the cemetery icons (little blue squares on the map). It's not 100% perfect because it's doing a name lookup, and names aren't always exactly the same between Google and Find A Grave. But it seems to work 90% of the time.

    Play around with it and let me know your thoughts!

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  4. Yet another great innovative idea Randy, and one we will all find very useful indeed. Looking forward to when you branch out into Wales!

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  5. The website epodunk.com has long been locating cemeteries in the USA on googlemaps, by County. It solicits and executes user amendments and additions. It shows many cemeteries not listed on findagrave.com.

    http://www.epodunk.com/search/counties.html

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  6. Hi Geolover,

    Yes, epodunk and some other grave-finding websites also have cemeteries shown on Google Maps. Not claiming that my tool is unique in that respect.

    The angle for me is the display of historical county boundaries, with the thinking being that once you see the counties and the area you're interested in on the map, why not make it easy by enabling the user to see courthouses, libraries, churches, and cemeteries that may be useful in their research, and to link through to a Google listing of that place.

    To be clear, I get the courthouses, libraries, churches, and cemeteries all from Google Places, not Find A Grave (the Find A Grave link is simply there for convenience).

    Here's how my map works with Google Places. Once you click a cemetery on my map, an Information window appears, and you can click the "Google Place Listing" link to be taken to that cemetery's Google Place page (where you can add comments, ratings, etc. if you want to). Then, if you believe the location or other information about the place is incorrect, you can click the "Edit this place" link in the upper right of the Google Place page, where you can drag the red icon to where you believe the correct location is and click Submit. Google will then review the edits, and make updates accordingly. My website will then automatically pick up those edits whenever Google makes them. (By the way, you can do the same with courthouses, churches, libraries, and so on.)

    I hope this clarification is helpful.

    Thanks for the feedback.

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