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Let this FREE tool do the location work for you as you search on Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.org



U.S. county boundaries have changed over 17,600 times since America was settled in colonial times. Don’t sabotage your search for ancestors by not knowing the correct county for the historical years you are researching.

While searching on Ancestry or FamilySearch, the free Historical U.S. Counties Auto-Checker extension for Google Chrome automatically checks that the county existed in the year you are searching, warns of boundary changes, and links to historical county lines on Google Maps for the place and years you are searching!


Install for free today and never let an ancestor fall of the map again!



For a step-by-step example of how the tool works, check out this post:  Ancestor fall off the map? Use this FREE Chrome extension for Ancestry or FamilySearch to find them!

Note, this is the first version of this tool, so if you find any bugs or issues, please contact me on the form on the lower left side of this page.  And if you find it useful, please leave a rating or review on the chrome web store.



Ancestor fall off the map? Use this FREE Chrome extension for Ancestry and FamilySearch to help find them!

It's been a long time in the making...so I'm excited to finally make this Chrome extension available!  Here's a run-down on what the Chrome extension does and why it's important for your searches on Ancestry and FamilySearch.

Are you unknowingly sabotaging your searches on Ancestry and FamilySearch?

When searching on Ancestry.com, don’t be lulled into complacency by the convenient “City, County, State…” autocomplete dropdown menus like this one:

Searching in Denver County for James Smith b1850 in 1880 US Census on Ancestry

Why?  Because the county listed in the drop-down may not be right!  The county may not have existed in the year you are searching...or boundaries may have changed.  (Keep reading...county boundaries have changed over 17,600 times in the U.S.!)  How can you know if this is a problem you're facing?

SOLUTION:  The new Historical U.S. Counties Auto-Checker Chrome extension will automatically alert you as you type a place and year.  In the example below, see the warning that Denver County did not exist in 1880!


You can then click the MAP link to determine exactly what County you SHOULD be searching in for the year you are searching.  The map will open in a new browser tab, center on the State you are searching and the historic boundaries for the year you are searching will draw.  Click around the map to explore or use the Search Places box above the map to go directly to a city, such as Denver, CO in this example:


SO, Denver was located in Arapahoe County, Colorado in 1880!

Why does this matter?  Let’s find out:

Search results for James Smith born 1850 in Denver using only Ancestry’s autocomplete dropdown (where is he?!?):
Using the information from the MAP link in the Historical U.S. Counties Auto-Checker Chrome extension, now go back and edit your search to the CORRECT county (Ancestry’s autocomplete may not show you a hint for “Denver, Arapahoe County…” but be stubborn and type it anyway!):
Search for James Smith in Denver, Arapahoe County in 1880

The Historical U.S. Counties Auto-Checker Chrome extension now tells you that Arapahoe County is a valid county, formed in 1861 and its boundaries changed 2x between formation and 1880.  (If you’re curious and want to see the boundary changes, just click the MAP link).

Now, click Search and your new results appear (there he is!):


So James Smith born about 1850 DOES reside in Denver in 1880!  We just needed to know Denver was part of Arapahoe County in 1880!


How many times has not knowing the correct county kept you from finding a record for your ancestors? 

Probably more that you thought:  U.S. county boundaries have changed over 17,600 times since America was settled in colonial times.  Don’t sabotage your search for ancestors by not knowing the correct county for the historical year you are researching.

Search with confidence:  The Historical U.S. Counties Auto-Checker Chrome extension makes use of the award-winning randymajors.com Research Hub’s Historical U.S. Counties on Google Maps tool, underpinned with the complete dataset of the authoritative Newberry Atlas of Historical County Boundaries.

With the Historical U.S. Counties Auto-Checker Chrome extension, now you can easily know about county search errors and explore county boundary changes.  And with that knowledge you may very well find new records that were “hidden” on Ancestry or FamilySearch all along!

Installation Instructions

Click the "Add to Chrome" button to install.  (You may see a standard confirmation window that states that the extension can “Read and change your data on www.ancestry.com or www.familysearch.org”.  Rest assured that the Historical U.S. Counties Auto-Checker Chrome extension ONLY reads the place and year fields and shows the county information as shown in the screenshots above; it absolutely DOES NOT make any changes to your data whatsoever.  No logins or email addresses are required to use the extension!)  

Instructions are available at both the installation link as well as in a popup that appears when you first install it.  But I think you'll find it incredibly easy to use, as you don't have to do anything different than you normally do when searching on Ancestry and FamilySearch...the county information box just automatically appears as you type places and years in all of the search boxes! 

Note, this is the first version of this tool, so if you find any bugs or issues, please contact me on the form on the lower left side of this page.  And if you find it useful, please leave a rating or review on the chrome web store.

Happy searching!

New map tool shows Coronavirus Shelter-in-Place & Stay-at-Home Orders on Google Maps

In an effort to try to provide useful information during this trying time, I've been working to maintain an up-to-date interactive map showing all Coronavirus Shelter-in-Place & Stay-at-Home Orders on Google Maps in the US.

The map overlays all U.S. jurisdictions with Shelter-in-Place* or Stay-at-Home* Orders currently in effect or imminent due to the Covid-19 Coronavirus.

Below is a screenshot of the tool, but I encourage you to go to the live map to ensure you're seeing the latest updates.


As with all map tools on this website, you can zoom in and see the relevant county lines, city limits, townships and more.

* While the term "Shelter-In-Place" or "Stay-At-Home" is not precisely accurate, they are the terms being most widely used for jurisdictions where all but essential activities outside the home are currently outlawed.  In general, the exceptions include essential workers, medical necessity, getting groceries and recreational activities such as running, walking and hiking where at least 6 feet social distance is maintained.


If you are aware of an current or imminent Shelter-in-Place or Stay-at-Home order that is not represented on the map tool, please let me know in the comments of this post, along with a link to a reputable government or news website with the announcement.

Please feel free to share if you know of others who would find this useful.

Stay healthy!

New feature: DRAW ANY SHAPE on the map to reveal all of the Counties, ZIP Codes, Cities, Townships and more

With all of the Map tools on the randymajors.com Research Hub, you've always been able to click on the map to know what ZIP Code, city, county or Section Township and Range that you clicked on.

Now with this latest version of the map tools, you can DRAW ANY SHAPE and identify what's there! Here are the simple steps:

    New Drawing Tools button on randymajors Research Hub
    New Drawing Tools on randymajors Research Hub
  1. Click the "Drawing Tools..." button on the left side of the map
  2. Select the shape you want to draw (line, custom polygon or rectangle) in the upper left corner
  3. Draw any shape on the map and double-click the map when you're done 

Here's an example in which I drew a polygon to report on ZIP Codes around Sioux City, Iowa:


See that "Results" box that pops up over the map window?  It reports ALL of the features that the shape you drew touches. So in this example, we have all of the ZIP Codes that my drawn polygon touches.

These new drawing tools work on all of the map tools to select the appropriate main topic of the tool:  countiesZIP CodescitiesSection Township and Rangehistorical U.S. countiesTime Zones, and Area Codes

Copy the Results into another program

If you have some sort of a database, spreadsheet or document, you can easily paste the list of ZIP Codes into that other program.  Just follow these easy steps:

  1. Click inside the Results box that lists the ZIP Codes
  2. Type Ctrl+A to select all of the ZIP Codes
  3. Type Ctrl+C to copy them to your clipboard
  4. Open your other program and either type Ctrl+V or choose Paste from the appropriate menu
When you're done, just click the "EXIT DRAWING" button on the left side of the map.

Create a pdf of your map, including the shape you drew!

Now that you know how to draw a shape on the map, you might want to create a pdf or screenshot of your completed masterpiece.  Let's say you're drawing a parcel of land based on a Section, Township and Range land description.  Follow these steps:
  1. Draw the shape on the map using the Drawing Tools as described above (TIP:  If you need to adjust the shape after you draw it, click the Hand button highlighted in the upper left of the map)
  2. In a few moments, the Results window will appear over the map listing each unique Section Township Range your shape touched.  Click the "CLOSE" button on the Results box so you can see the map.
  3. To create a pdf file of your map, right-click in the light-blue title bar at the top of the map (highlighted below), and choose "Print..." as shown below.
Print a pdf from the randymajors map tools

In the resulting Print preview window that appears, change the "Print Destination" to "Save as pdf".  (If the map doesn't appear quite right, you can try changing from Portrait to Landscape or go back and make your map window smaller and Print again).  

Another option for getting a map into another program is just to click the PrtScr (PrintScreen) key on your keyboard, and then open your other program (e.g. Word, PowerPoint, your blog) and Paste.  That's how I get all these maps in to these blog posts!

Have fun with these powerful new drawing and reporting tools!

Try this one search to find the People Search sites that have YOUR private info, plus links to remove it

Does doing a Google search for your name turn up a ton of results from those annoying people search websites?  Now you can easily find which websites have your private information, and follow links to have your information deleted.  It's easy and it's free.

Just go to PeopleSearch on Google Search, type your name and location (e.g. city or state) and choose "INCLUDE ONLY search results from people search sites" and the click the "Run Full Google Search" button.  The page looks like this:


You can view the full description of the new functionality below the PeopleSearch tool under the heading "NEW!  How to Filter Search Results from People Search sites and Social Media sites".

What People Search sites are searched?

These are the people search sites searched by PeopleSearch, listed roughly in order or traffic ranking according to Alexa:

whitepages.com, beenverified.com, zoominfo.com, mylife.com, spokeo.com, truepeoplesearch.com, instantcheckmate.com, clustrmaps.com, truthfinder.com, fastpeoplesearch.com, peoplefinders.com, rocketreach.co, apollo.io, intelius.com, owler.com, usphonebook.com, peekyou.com, peoplelooker.com, radaris.com, smartbackgroundchecks.com, pipl.com, familytreenow.com, searchpeoplefree.com, checkpeople.com, thatsthem.com, 411.com, advancedbackgroundchecks.com, ussearch.com, anywho.com, zabasearch.com, peoplesearchnow.com, xlek.com, publicrecords.directory, peoplebyname.com, checkthem.com, veripages.com, peoplesmart.com, findpeoplesearch.com, dobsearch.com, people-background-check.com, fullnamedirectory.com, phoneowner.com, publicrecords360.com, backgroundcheck.run, publicrecords.com

For your convenience, I've added links in the "How to Filter Search Results" section of PeopleSearch that will take you directly to the opt-out page of each people search site where you can request to have your information removed


TIP:  You can also Include or Exclude Social Media sites in your search

These are the social media sites searched by PeopleSearch, listed roughly in order or traffic ranking according to Alexa:

youtube.com, facebook.com, baidu.com, qq.com, wikipedia.org, amazon.com, reddit.com, instagram.com, twitter.com, stackoverflow.com, linkedin.com, github.com, whatsapp.com, tumblr.com, medium.com, stackexchange.com, pinterest.com, messenger.com, quora.com, tripadvisor.com, skype.com, yelp.com, tiktok.com, nextdoor.com, wechat.com, snapchat.com, qzone.com


Online privacy is a concern, and I hope this enhancement makes it a little bit easier to find your private information on the internet...and have it removed if you want to.  

Please feel free to share with anyone who might find this helpful, and leave me comments if you feel there are relevant people search sites or social media sites I have overlooked.

Happy searching!

Now AncestorSearch can cut through the muck of all of those annoying People Search sites

Does doing a Google search for your ancestors turn up a ton of results from those annoying People Search websites?  Now you can easily INCLUDE or EXCLUDE those websites from your search based on a new enhancement to AncestorSearch on Google Search!

Now you can filter your AncestorSearch search results to EXCLUDE or to INCLUDE ONLY search results from major people search sites and social media sites.  The options look like this:
AncestorSearch and PeopleSearch Filter Search Results options

You can view the full description of the new functionality below the AncestorSearch tool under the heading "NEW!  How to Filter Search Results from People Search sites and Social Media sites".

What People Search sites are searched?

These are the people search sites searched by AncestorSearch, listed roughly in order or traffic ranking according to Alexa:

whitepages.com, beenverified.com, zoominfo.com, mylife.com, spokeo.com, truepeoplesearch.com, instantcheckmate.com, clustrmaps.com, truthfinder.com, fastpeoplesearch.com, peoplefinders.com, rocketreach.co, apollo.io, intelius.com, owler.com, usphonebook.com, peekyou.com, peoplelooker.com, radaris.com, smartbackgroundchecks.com, pipl.com, familytreenow.com, searchpeoplefree.com, checkpeople.com, thatsthem.com, 411.com, advancedbackgroundchecks.com, ussearch.com, anywho.com, zabasearch.com, peoplesearchnow.com, xlek.com, publicrecords.directory, peoplebyname.com, checkthem.com, veripages.com, peoplesmart.com, findpeoplesearch.com, dobsearch.com, people-background-check.com, fullnamedirectory.com, phoneowner.com, publicrecords360.com, backgroundcheck.run, publicrecords.com

What Social Media sites are searched?

These are the social media sites searched by AncestorSearch, listed roughly in order or traffic ranking according to Alexa:

youtube.com, facebook.com, baidu.com, qq.com, wikipedia.org, amazon.com, reddit.com, instagram.com, twitter.com, stackoverflow.com, linkedin.com, github.com, whatsapp.com, tumblr.com, medium.com, stackexchange.com, pinterest.com, messenger.com, quora.com, tripadvisor.com, skype.com, yelp.com, tiktok.com, nextdoor.com, wechat.com, snapchat.com, qzone.com


TIP:  Concerned about your privacy?  

Use the "INCLUDE ONLY search results from people search sites" option to find our what people search sites have your personal information.  To search, it's typically best to start by typing just First Name, Last Name and Place (e.g. city or state). You can also type a 4-digit year or an age into the Year box, and choose "Exact" if you're getting too many results.

For your convenience, I've added links in the How to Filter Search Results section of AncestorSearch that will take you directly to the opt-out page of each people search site where you can request to have your information removed

Want it all?

And remember, if you want AncestorSearch to give you ALL Google search results, just leave the "Filter Search Results" set to its default setting of "Do not filter search results."


I hope this enhancement makes it even easier to better hone your search!  Please feel free to share with anyone who might find this helpful, and leave me comments if you feel there are relevant people search sites or social media sites I have overlooked.

Happy searching!

Create a link to a map of ANY Section, Township and Range, including your CURRENT location

If you have a website that makes use of legal land descriptions, now you can quickly create a link to a map centered on any Section, Township and Range.  Or if you are traveling looking at large land parcels, you can see what Township, Range and Section you are currently* in.

This is an advanced capability of the Section Township Range on Google Maps tool.

To zoom into a particular Section, Township and Range, create a link such as this:

https://www.randymajors.com/p/township-range-on-google-maps.html?state=CO&s=15&t=4&td=N&r=69&rd=W

Clicking this link takes you to this map:

Map of Section 15, Township 4 North, Range 69 West, Colorado

TIP: copy/paste the link above and customize to suit your needs

The parameters you can use are as follows:
      • state - REQUIRED FIELD.  Expects a two character state abbreviation, such as ?state=CO
      • s - Optionally include a particular section number, such as &s=15 (if not included, the map will center on the entire township and range) 
      • t - REQUIRED FIELD.  This is the Township number, such as &t=4 
      • td - REQUIRED FIELD.  This is the Township direction indicator and must be N, S, E or W, such as &td=N
      • r - REQUIRED FIELD.  This is the Range number, such as &r=69 
      • rd - REQUIRED FIELD.  This is the Range direction indicator and must be E, W, N or S, such as &rd=W
      • color - optionally choose the color used for the Map Title. Expects a 6-character hex color code without the leading # character, for example, &color=00FF00 would create a green map title (free tools are widely available on the internet to find your hex color)
      • title - optionally creates a title for the map, such as &title=Sec+15+T4N+R69W+CO

      To zoom to your PRESENT* Section, Township and Range, create a link such as this:

      https://www.randymajors.com/p/township-range-on-google-maps.html?loc=true&color=00EE00&title=My+Current+Township+Range+Section

      The parameters you can use are as follows:
          • loc - REQUIRED FIELD.  Expects to be set to true in order to use your current location, such as ?loc=true
          • color - optionally choose the color used for the Map Title. Expects a 6-character hex color code without the leading # character, for example, &color=00FF00 would create a green map title (free tools are widely available on the internet to find your hex color)
          • title - optionally creates a title for the map, such as &title=My+Current+Township+Range+Section

          A few important things to make this work:

          1.  You must use the question mark ( ? ) right after .html, as shown above
          2.  Do NOT use spaces anywhere in the URL or query parameters
          3.  You must separate query parameters using the ampersand ( & ), as shown above
          4.  User the + character to represent spaces in the title parameter

          TIP:  For simplicity, you can drop the https://www from the front

          Your current location is typically more accurate on smartphones and other devices containing a GPS; desktop browsers typically show an approximate location.


          Happy mapping!