Mapping Your Ancestors: One Way to View Your Genealogical Data

“We’re all pilgrims on the same journey – but some pilgrims have better road maps.” ~ Nelson DeMille

I love maps. When Bart and I were young and poor I would drag out an atlas and “travel” with the maps to places I’d like to go one day. When today’s blog theme (‘maps’) came up, I was glad. I’ve been wanting to do this current maps project for a while but it never seems to rise to the top of the “priorities” list. I was happy to get to do it for today’s blog post. This is a much more simplified version of what I’d really like to do but anything more complicated would probably not translate well through these photos.

“The reinvention of daily life means marching off the edge of our maps.”
~ Bob Black

On a USA wall map I have at home, I charted the locations of my direct line DRAKE and direct line BATES families as well as Bart’s direct line WILLIAMS and direct line WOLF families. My direct line DRAKE’s are the black line stretching from NE Oklahoma/NW Arkansas to Virginia (the top black line going through Indiana and back south). My direct line BATES’ are the black line stretching from NW Arkansas to Virginia (the bottom black line going through Tennessee and the tip of Georgia and then back north). Bart’s direct line WILLIAMS’ is the red line stretching between Oklahoma and Kentucky (the line coming in from the western US and extending east to Kentucky). Bart’s direct line WOLF’s are the tiny red line up in Michigan. I put a circle around it so you could find it.

4-surname ancestral map.

This is a fun exercise. I simplified it greatly for this blog post since not every ancestral line would fit in a way that you could make sense of all of them. Plus, I’d need a lot more marker colors to do them all! I confined the results to only one surname (and not including the lines that married into that surname) and the locations are approximate, not exact. I got them close but didn’t worry about precision this time. I also didn’t take into consideration migration routes- I just drew my lines “as the crow flies”. I hope you enjoy a simplified shot of an ancestral map done in this way. I encourage you to print off a US map this week and try it on one or two of your own surnames. Sometimes seeing your data in a different way solves problems you may be having in your research. Plus- it’s just fun!

“Your goals are the road maps that guide you and show you what is possible for your life.” ~ Les Brown

Until next time,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

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