Monday, 17 May 2010

Family Search - Mapping

Last Saturday I attended the Genealogy Mapping Seminar organised by the Guild of One-Name Studies at which Judy Jones from Family Search gave a presentation on "English Jurisdictions 1851".

What is it? Since mapping is a visual tool, so is this blog. Basically it is a website enabling you to select a town in England, I have chosen Kendal, Westmorland, and show maps of the relevant jurisdictions, with links as to where the information may be found.

The map shows the boundaries of the jurisdictions selected from the Layers option below (some have contiguous boundaries).
The Layers list from which the boundaries in the above map have been selected. Note that for the map, instead of selecting the Ordnance Survey Map for the background I have chosen the more colourful Google Map which can be done elsewhere.

Selecting a jurisdiction on the map gives a bubble which shows general information about it. Including, in the case of Kendal, places within the Parish, the dates records began and non-conformist records.

As can be seen, at the top of the bubble are three tabs, and the second of which is shown below, and the Options on the right.

It can be seen that each tab holds a number of links from which further information may be obtained. My trials using Kendal gave me immediate access to websites and information which had taken me years to accumulate by myself, to say I'm impressed would be like saying chocolate cake is only OK, the system is brilliant!

We were advised that site is not fully operational as yet. but it is available to the public from here. Judy expressed the wish that eventually she hoped that all the new databases which Family Search are developing will be fully interlinked, so the future looks really exciting.

© Ron Ferguson 2010

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Pin it on Google Earth

I was stimulated to examine whether it was possible to enter location pins onto Google Earth from my Legacy database by two articles written by Howard Mathieson1 who used GenMap as his starting point. Although I have used Legacy which is an Access DB, the method should apply to any DB where the construction is known and accessible.

The method used involves extracting the required details using, putting this into a MySQL DB and using PHP to extract the data in the required format for importing into Earth Plot which will put the pins into Google Earth.

One interesting problem was that Legacy stores location co-ordinates (latitude/longitude) in the format whereas Earth Plot requires them in decimal. A wide search on Google failed to provide a PHP script which made the calculation, so I ended up having to write one! The basic PHP, including this calculation, is given in the Map Using Google Earth tutorial on my FergysWebsite.

This tutorial describes how to use the method to plot the locations of the  Fergusons born before 1902 who are entered into my One-Name DB. Looking towards the future, when I will have many more records - at present there are around 1500 - I would hope to have come up with a way of plotting their movements with respect to time. I suspect that this will not be too easy!


1. Grateful acknowledgement is made to Howard Mathieson for his articles in the Vol 10 Issue 5 and Issue 6 editions of the Journal of One-Name Studies, the quarterly publication of the Guild of One-Name Studies (non-members: £2.00/copy) which stimulated my interest in this subject and introduced me to Earth Plot.