15 Mar 2014

OpenStreetMap and Genealogy

Today’s post is about OpenStreetMap and genealogy. I believe the next big advances in genealogy (and historiography) are coming from the growing ability to add historical data to mapping applications.

I’ve written about HistoryPin and WhatWasThere, both of which combine mapping and photographs. Another great project in this area is OpenStreetMap, a free, editable map of the whole world, which is of interest to genealogists for both input and research.

openstreetmap sassy jane genealogy

OpenStreetMap is open source, which means anyone can contribute to and edit the data. The OpenStreetMap license allows free access to the full map dataset, which can be downloaded in full. And because it’s open source, users can view changes and additions made over time to the database that underpins the map.

Also included in search results on OpenStreetMap are other bits of geographical information dear to genealogists, like variant names, counties or other geographical hierarchy, and links to Wikipedia and GeoNames. The example above uses one of my former Prussian and now Polish ancestral villages, Rawitsch.


9 Aug 2013

A Vision of Britain Through Time for Follow Friday

A Vision of Britain Through Time for today’s Follow Friday brings together historical surveys of Britain to create a record of how the country and its localities have changed.

A Vision of Britain Through Time was created by Humphrey Southall and the Great Britain Historical GIS Project at the Department of Geography of the University of Portsmouth. More information about the project, and about historical applications of GIS technology, is available at their Web site at


18 May 2013

Direct Me NYC 1940 – Find Your Elusive NYC Family Member


Direct Me NYC 1940 marries the 1940 census with the digitized phone books of all five boroughs of New York City. The user unites the two sets of data with the help of Steve Morse’s One-Step site. If you’re still struggling to find elusive NYC family members, this site can help. There’s an article up at the New York Times about the resource at the New York Public Library.

The project permits the user to cross-reference NYC residents’ names and addresses with the 1940 census data made public last year, which includes the person’s age, income, education, occupation, and residences in 1935 and 1940.


26 Mar 2013

How Many of

How Many of Me sassy jane genealogyLately I’ve been absorbed in client work and conference prep. So of course I’m having a lot of fun procrastinating with a new (to me) site called How Many of Me.

You can find out how many people share your name by entering a simple first and last name. (Also works on other family names.)

My first name has more than a million hits, but my last name brings that number down to only 10. Fun!