Creating a Research Map with Google My Maps – Featuring Special Guest Melissa Finlay


Ever had an ancestor that moved around a
lot and you just can’t wrap your head around
it? Well, I want to show you how to use Google My Maps to help your research
make more sense. Hi, I’m Melissa Finlay with boundlessgenealogy.com, here as a
guest contributor on Family History Fanatics this is part 3 of my series on
how to use Google My Maps for your family history.
I hope you’ve caught the previous two videos so that you know some basics
about how to use Google My Maps. Remember, you need to create your Google My Maps
on a computer, either a desktop or laptop, but you can access it from anywhere, even
on mobile devices. So let’s jump into this situation. Here I had done some
research on a man named Joseph John Finley and I found a tiny clue that he
was a Coast Guardsman in Ireland during his lifetime. So, this led me to the UK
Archives’ online microfilm collection and they have a whole lot of microfilms
about the Coast Guard. Thankfully I was able to find him and trace his career
throughout Ireland for about 40 years when he served as a Coast Guardsman.
However, I was really confused about the places. He was reassigned to different
ports about every couple of years and from the clues I could gather, his family
was moving with him. So I wanted to find a way to make this all make more sense
to my mind because I don’t know the geography of Ireland very well, and every
time I would just do a basic map search to find these places they weren’t
showing up on any map. So, what do you do in this circumstance? Well, I still think
it’s worth making a Google My Map for them, but you need to do it in
conjunction with a couple of other tools. the first tool is a gazetteer. A
gazetteer is basically a place dictionary. So when your ancestor is
listed in records with place names that you can no longer find on a map, whether
that be in Ireland or the United States or anywhere else, you can go and find an old gazetteer basically from the same time
period that your ancestor was living there. So in this case I went to the
digital collection of books, including gazetteers, on archive.org, The Internet
Archive, and I looked up gazetteer Ireland and I was looking for something
that was published between the 1820s and the 1860s because this is when Joseph
John Finley was serving in the Coast Guard. So this gazetteer would be the most accurate as to place names at that time.
So I found this gazetteer and I started looking at the place names. The nice
thing about these digital books is you can just come to the search bar and you
type in your place. Now in my case it took a little bit of sleuthing because
the place names as spelled in the Coast Guard records and the place name is
spelled here were slightly different from one another. Sometimes you have
to use some variations on the spellings. But eventually I was able to find most
of the places and the gazetteer gives in description of the place. So if we zoom
in here, you can see that for example, this Broadford, it says a small
village nine miles from Killaloe in the parish of Kilseily and I know I’m
pronouncing these all wrong but I don’t, I don’t know how to pronounce Ireland
places. County of Clare on the road of Ennis, near which is the residence of
Hurlstone. And then it even says fairs are held in June and November so if you
wanted to go visit that back then you would know, you were looking at this gazetteer and you know you could go there in those months and find the fairs. Anyway,
it basically gives the name of the place and a description of the place so that
you can then, in our case we’re going to use that description to find it on a map.
Then what I did is find a historic map of the location also. So you can find
these in lots of places, there’s a lot of websites that now have digital maps of
historic places. In this case, I was also able to find a map of Ireland on
archive.org from the time period I was looking for. So, in conjunction with the
gazetteer and the records I have for the Coast Guardsman,
I was able to come to this map, and you can zoom far in, and as you can
see, because I was of course looking for places along the coastline, I was able to
come along the coast and in conjunction with the descriptions from the gazetteer
I was able to find the historic ports where he was serving as Coast Guardsmen.
Most of those ports no longer exist, very few of them still have ruins.
Most of them are just completely gone and the coastline has actually changed
quite a bit in the hundred and fifty years since
this time period. So this map helped me a lot. Between the map and the gazetteer
that gave me enough information to come back to my Google My Map and I created
this map, it’s called Finlay Coast Guard 1823 to 1877, because that’s the years
where the Finlay man I was looking for in some other Finlay men that I also
extracted records for were serving in the Coast Guard. And I started placing
markers on the map in this case I thought it was really fun to add an
anchor as the location so you can see this particular one that I marked is
Port-A-Cloy 1830. This is when Joseph Finlay was serving at that port, and this
port no longer exists in Ireland at this day, so those gazetteers and the
historic maps helped me. And I just continued to mark all of the places that
I knew about from his life this outlines place is another technique you can use
on Google My Maps. It’s another one of the features. It’s next to the directions
tab that you can add directions, but this one just lets you outline something. So
in this case, we knew the county where he was born, from various records, but not a
specific location. So we just outlined the entire county to demark where he
had been born and then we knew where some of his children were born and where
he had registered to become a Coast Guardsman, so we put all of those items
on there as well. And we knew where he had retired too, so we put that
on the map as well. And you know what happened when we made this map even
though it took a little bit of sleuthing, because first we had to find the Coast
Guard records, then we had to look up those places in the gazetteer, then we
had to find the corresponding location on the historic map, and then finally add
it to our Google My Map. But all of a sudden what made a lot more sense was
the first places of his children. He never immigrated to the United States
but most of his children and his wife did and in their records they had what
seems to be disparate birth places. We couldn’t figure out why was one child
born in this place and why was another child born in that place but once we
figured out this map of his Coast Guard service, it all made sense. Basically, his
family was just traveling around with him and the different children were born
in different port locations where he was serving. Do you have a very mobile
ancestor in mind that you want to create a map for now? tell us about them in the
comments below remember to subscribe to Family History Fanatics for more videos
just like this one. Also subscribe to my channel, Boundless Genealogy, where I
teach you how to squeeze more clues out of the documents you find in your family
history search

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