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2014 Donald R. Snow

These Freeware Corner notes are published in TAGGology, our Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group (UVTAGG) monthly newsletter, and are posted on  where there may be updates, corrections, or additions.


This month we discuss ROOTSMAPPER, an online program at , that uses data for your ancestors on FamilySearch Family Tree to draw interactive Google maps of where they were born.  It is Family Tree Certified, which means that it has been approved by FamilySearch to work with Family Tree data.  See  for the list of currently Certified FamilySearch products.  Here is a quote from the ROOTSMAPPER link on that page, .  There is also more information about the program there.

"RootsMapper allows you to easily visualize the migration patterns of your ancestors.  It utilizes the data that already exists in your FamilySearch Family Tree to plot your ancestors onto an interactive map.  Discover your family's heritage with RootsMapper.  It's easy to get started.  Just visit our website and login with your FamilySearch credentials and a basic map will automatically generate.  From there you can explore additional options and plot multiple additional generations in seconds."

To use it go to their website , log in with your LDS or FamilySearch account, and it generates a 3-generation interactive Google map of the birth locations of you, your parents, grandparents, and great grandparents.  Three generation in ROOTSMAPPER means:  0 = you, 1 = your parents, 2 = your grandparents, and 3 = your great-grandparents.  The circle marked 0 on the map generated shows where you were born, the circles marked 1 where your parents were born, etc.  It only uses birth information, not migration data, so a line crossing the ocean shows immigration since the parent was born abroad and the child born here.  The default is 3 generations, but can be changed for up to 10 generations.  To change the root person highlight the PID in the upper left corner and enter the new PID or else go to the end of one of the lines, click on the circle, and click on the icon to Show This Person's Parents.  Maps starting from anyone other than yourself, must start from a deceased person, unless you entered that data yourself, since your FamilySearch account doesn't have access to birth information for living people other than you due to privacy laws.  Lines on the maps are color-coded with blue lines for ancestors of the root person's father and pink lines for the root person's mother.  Note that these colors don't change for other generations, that is a blue line anywhere is a line pertaining to ancestors of your father and a pink line anywhere is a line pertaining to ancestors of your mother.  The map can be moved by holding down the left click key and moving the mouse.  The map can be zoomed in or out by holding down the Control key and rolling the mouse wheel.  Hovering the cursor over a circle shows the name, birth, and death years of that person.  Clicking on a circle opens a card with the name, PID (Personal Identifier in Family Tree), and birth and death information with several options of going to their personal card on Family Tree, setting that person as the Root Person, etc.  The person cards for people at the ends of the lines on the map have an icon to extend that line further by selecting the number of generations you want.  Clicking on Satellite (upper right corner of the map) shows a satellite view, rather than the map view.  When on the map view, clicking on Terrain toggles the names of the physical features of the map on and off and, when on the Satellite view, it toggles the terrain features on and off.  If you plot many generations, you will probably need to zoom in on the map, since there will be many circles and lines.

The Options box in the upper left corner contains the following:
     Map Options -- has buttons to toggle lines and pins on and off; Traceback which makes the line black from whoever you click on down to the root person;  and Isolate, with Traceback turned on, which toggles all the other lines on and off so you can see just the one black path from the person down to the root person.
     Pedigree Chart -- shows the root person and parents; clicking on a parent redraws the map with that person as the root person.
     Country Statistics -- shows how many people were born in each country for the number of generations you have plotted.
     Root Person and their PID -- can change the PID here to generate the map for another person

Besides seeing migration patterns you may be able to see problems in your data on Family Tree.  For example, on one of my lines the abbreviated place MA plotted somewhere in Brazil and I discovered that I needed to spell out Massachusetts for that person in 
Family Tree to have it plot correctly.

Helps for RootsMapper are at  http://blog.rootsmapper.com , and .

You can use ROOTSMAPPER to generate various maps of your ancestors and then do screenshots of the maps to use for articles, demonstrations, or slideshows.  For family gatherings you map slideshows of maps of each of your grandparents, or a series of maps going back more and more generations, etc.  It would be easy for people to interpret and see where your ancestors are from.  ROOTSMAPPER is a very helpful program that gives migration information at a glance.

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