Mapping your way through genealogy

Diana
Diana Tibert
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I grew up looking at maps. We used them to navigate during our camping trips. My brothers and I often traced the routes with crayons or markers to know exactly where we had been. We kept maps in the family vehicle, in our sock drawers and taped to our bedroom walls.

I grew up looking at maps. We used them to navigate during our camping trips. My brothers and I often traced the routes with crayons or markers to know exactly where we had been. We kept maps in the family vehicle, in our sock drawers and taped to our bedroom walls. My older brothers, most of them hunters, had maps showing the lay of the land, so they knew where the hills and rivers were. They were neat because not only did they have the main roads and back roads, but they also had the houses marked with little black squares. I recorded who lived in the houses and where our secret trails, forts and swimming spots were. In my early teens, I took an orienteering course which allowed me to better understand maps. Decades later, maps are still part of my life. One hangs on the kitchen wall with circles around places the kids have travelled, another is in the car and the Atlas of Nova Scotia is on the shelf for quick reference, long car trips and cemetery-finding missions. This experience with maps has proved useful while researching the family tree. Whenever I read of a new location in which my family was born, married or died, I look it up and make note of the exact location (county, province/territory/state and country). If I dont have a particular map, I Google (http://www.google.ca/) for the location. Knowing the exact location and which location is near another is helpful because if a particular record isnt found in the primary location, it might be found in a nearby community. While I am comfortable using maps, I understand many others are not. If you have never used a map before, start by getting one for where you live. Finding familiar locations will help you better understand how maps are designed. Finding a location on a map is easy with the grid system. In my old geography class, we learned about the imaginary lines of latitude (lines going across) and longitude (lines from one pole to the other). On most tourist maps today, you wont see the words latitude and longitude. Instead, the co-ordinates are given with a letter and a number. Tourist bureaus have provincial road maps and often more detailed maps for their local area. For example, you might find a street map of a nearby village which often includes museums, cemeteries and places of historical significance. If youre researching in a particular province and want to learn more before you visit (or maybe you cant get there in person), tourist guides and maps can be ordered on-line. For example, the 2007 Experience New Brunswick Vacation Planner can be ordered or downloaded from the New Brunswick Tourist website (http://www.tourismnewbrunswick.ca/). Researchers File Seeking information on Borden Nelson of Cumberland County who died in 1950 and his children, Frances (married Glen Marr, lived in Wisconsin, U.S.A.), June (lived in Pugwash) and Norma. Contact: Noreen Stark, 190 Kaulback St., Truro, NS B2N3M6; email: ginger@ns.sympatico.ca Diana Lynn Tibert is a freelance writer living at Milford, NS. Submit queries to: RR#1 Milford, Hants County, NS B0N 1Y0; Email: tibert@ns.sympatico.ca

Organizations: Atlas of Nova Scotia, Google

Geographic location: Cumberland County, Wisconsin, Pugwash Hants County

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