Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Impressive New PedigreeMap

So far, I can say with some certainty that the PedigreeMap is likely one of the most powerful graphic research tools I have ever seen. If you needed a reason for subscribing to byond the already included great features of the program, this is it. Before getting into the details of why I think this program is so valuable, I would like to point to what MyHeritage is planning to do with this mapping program in the future. Bear in mind, these are predictions of future developments, but MyHeritage has a really strong track record of doing what they set out to do. Here is the quote from their blog post, "Introducing PedigreeMap™ — an Interactive Map of Your Family History."

Here is what is planned in the future:
Imagine that your grandfather came from some small ancestral town in Poland. Our vision is to allow you to visit that town on the map, and see ALL the public photos taken in that town by ALL the users on MyHeritage. If your grandmother immigrated through Elis Island, and the ship that she sailed on departed from Hamburg, we will show you all the passengers and all the records from the ship. Your grandmother will appear on the map in Hamburg where she departed, in Ellis Island where she landed, and in Chicago where she later resided, along with all the people in other MyHeritage trees who made similar journeys. 
We would like to evolve PedigreeMap into a tool for showing millions and even billions of data points, pictures, and events that have been shared publicly by other users. There will be an option to specifically filter the map and show places of interest in your family tree with data by all other users and all historical records. Then PedigreeMap will also become an exploration tool for historical records.
That is what may happen in the future, but what about the present reality?

One important thing about this new app or program is that it maps all your photos and events grouped by country and location. That explains why I have links in Mexico, Panama, Germany and the Philippines. The program also provides a way for you to edit all of the place names in your file into a standardized format. Here is the explanation of that feature from the blog post:
One of the most useful features in PedigreeMap is the ability to "Find and Replace" place names for standardization and to improve the data quality in your family tree. If you have spelled a place name incorrectly or inconsistently throughout your tree, you can easily change these in PedigreeMap and this change will be reflected on that individual's family tree profile. Place names are grouped by location so you can easily see if you have misspelled a place name. 
PedigreeMap indicates places where you didn't use standard canonicalized place names — for example, places that mention a city without the country name. It will detect spelling errors in place names, and suggest fixes. A small red dotted line next to a place name in the list indicates that there are further suggestions for change.
I might mention that as is usually the case with standardization of place names, there is a dichotomy between "USA" and "United States." But overall the editing process works very well. What is lacking is a way to retain non-standard place names or incorporate old, out-of-date place names into the database.

The real usefulness of the program may only be appreciated by researchers who focus on finding family members in small geographic areas. The main challenge is differentiating people with the same surname and sometimes the same given name. Here is an example of the map showing my ancestors' events in England.

I can zoom in and see exactly who I have in each of the small areas where my ancestors lived. Here is a section of the map showing Ramsey, Huntingdonshire (Cambridgeshire), England.

The list on the left contains the places where various ancestors lived. The list on the right appears when I click on the dot for Ramsey. I can quickly tell which other ancestors lived in close proximity and determine if anyone is somehow misplaced or wrongly included.

I am sure as I get to know more of the features of the PedigreeMap that it will become even more valuable.

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