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Free resource to help retailers, restaurants & small businesses closed due to SaH/SiP

During this challenging time for small businesses, this free online resource may help some small businesses amidst the current Stay-at-Home/Shelter-in-Place orders.

For retailers, restaurants and other small businesses that have had to close due to SaH/SiP orders, delivery of their goods directly to customers is an option many are doing or considering to help them get through this.  But a pain-point can be that communicating to customers exactly where they can deliver can be cumbersome or costly, and small business owners don’t have time right now to deal with this.

Easily let customers know where you can deliver!

To that end, I have a well-established tool that many small businesses are using for this purpose.  The tool enables a business to easily show a custom-defined map depicting a delivery/service area based on a list of ZIP CodesCustom Territories using ZIP Codes on Google Maps.

Here’s an example of one of the small businesses using my tool (I have no affiliation with this business, it’s just an example).  On their website, they show their delivery area:

Example of ZIP Codes based delivery area
In this example, this small business simply created a “Launch Map” button that is a link to my Custom Territories using ZIP Codes tool.  The button is simply a link that includes a list of ZIP Codes and a map title like this

Interactive Zip Code based delivery area exampleNote this retailer decided to include a map on their website, but that is not required…it can be as simple as a small link pointing to a ZIP Code list as shown above.  When the customer clicks the link or button, they get an interactive, zoomable, searchable Google Map like this (click the image to see the interactive Google map):

Without this free resource, the ability to create a ZIP Code based delivery area map can be very cumbersome or costly.  This tool makes it super easy (and free!).

Tool just updated:  Now it's easier than ever to create your custom delivery area map based on ZIP Codes by using this simple form found here:

Custom Delivery Areas on Google Maps 



A lot of people seem to do a Google search for 'Create territory map with ZIP Codes free'.  This is how to do just that!  To zoom to one or multiple ZIP Codes, and optionally show their boundary (e.g. for a service territory, sales territory or delivery area), see instructions here:

Custom Territories using ZIP Codes on Google Maps

By the way, if you or someone you know wants to use this, just do so...no need to ask permission or anything first!  But of course, if you need help, feel free to use the contact form on the lower left side of this website.

During this challenging time, if this free tool helps even one small business maintain customers and keep their business going, my effort to create and maintain this free resource will have been more than worth it.


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!