• Maps
  • Feb14

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    I was playing around with massaging my 23andme me DNA match data at lunch, and always find it interesting how far flung we all end up. I have 1,053 matches in 23andme’s “Countries of Ancestry” tool (previously aka Ancestry Finder), which is populated with answers your DNA matches provided on the location their grandparents came from

    Of the possible 4,212 grandparents, 1,508 locations were “Not Provided”, and 891 were listed as “United States.” The cousins range from 3rd to Distant.

    My maternal grandparents both came from small towns near to each other in Czechoslovakia, my paternal grandmother came from County Offaly in Ireland, and my paternal great-grandparents also came over from Ireland. All ended up in New York City.

    I can take the paper trail back to the early 1800s on most of my ancestral lines, so it is interesting to see various hotspots in some countries. Obviously, people travel, so my having one match with 4 grandparents from Iran, for example, doesn’t mean I have Iranian ancestry – someone in my line (or a descendant) could have traveled in that direction in the distant past.

    But, I am left wondering with so many Russian, Ukranian, and Scandinavian grandparents listed – did someone head down to the Czech Republic from there, or the other way around. Vikings? (One can hope.) Hopefully one day I’ll find out!

    In any case, the real reason for my post – below is a fun way to view these matches using Batchgeo mapping. I created a spreadsheet that counted up all the grandparent countries, then pasted the data into their page. After a few tweaks of the advanced settings – Voila! A map of the locations using color to indicate the grandparent counts by country.

    View Ancestry Finder Grandparent Country Matches in a full screen map

    Interestingly, when I mapped my wife’s matches in this way, I noticed that she has more matches with grandparents from Poland and Russia than she does the United States! Considering she has no known Polish ancestors at this point, and all of her emigrant ancestors are at great-grandparents and several beyond that, that is kind of interesting. (As I mentioned, I have 3 emigrant grandparents, and 2 emigrant great-grandparents, yet I have more US grandparents in my matches by far. ) Are her Ashkenazi matches from her Russian great-grandfather’s inherited DNA skewing the results?

    I also am wondering if 23andme has published just how many people have been tested with listed ancestry from each country when looking at their entire database. If, say, many more people have been tested in Russia than in Croatia, is that large number of Russian grandparents in my matches’ results showing up because of the larger testing pool in that location, or via a true ancestral connection in my DNA? Hmm. To be continued, I suspect.

    Finally, one thing I noticed with the BatchGeo mapping tool – the grouping of results by color is kind of skewed, and there is no way I see to change it. For example, the lowest color coded grouping is “1-3″ and my highest is “124-891″ – I would like to even out those groupings to make it more honest to the eye.

    My wife’s map, below:

    View Map of 23andme Match Grandparent Countries – LT in a full screen map

  • Jul5

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    1886 Marriage Record Detail: Joseph Vanac and Antonie Straka, Zamlyni, Czech RepublicI have begun to keep track of my Czech family homes listed in records I find on Actapublica. Here are the first – 4 of which found in a 1886 single marriage record for my great-grandparents Vaclav Vanac and Antonia Straka.

    Each location still has the original home in place – although the Zamlyni home has been added onto or had portions replaced. (See my previous post Then and Now: Simanek Family Home for a family photo matched to the Predmir home.)

    I am hoping that as I find more records on Actapublica, mapping them will give me a better picture of the local emigrations that occurred, as well as provide a nice tool to show to the rest of the family.

    Also, using the rich text functionality of Google Maps markers I can include links directly to the original records right on the map. This one marriage record, for example, has 3 different family homes listed in it: the Vanac family in Luckovice #34, the Brousilova family in Pisek #6, the Straka family in Zamlyni #3 and the Komanova family in Dobsic #8.

    (Pisek #6 has three potential results and needs further research – all have been added to the map for now.)

    Finally, Czech folk: Please excuse my not using the diacritics for these location name in this post.


    View Czech Family Locations in a larger map

  • Jun25

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    While going through some of the Czech family records I found on Actapublica.eu today, I headed over to the Google Maps to look up a town name I hadn’t heard of before. I might be late for this party, but I found that they had added street view images for the Czech Republic!

    My grandfather Josef Vanac’s family lived in House #3 in the town of Zámlyní, and my grandmother Marie Simanek’s family lived in House #6 just down the road in the town of Předmíř. So armed with a fistful of family photos I started “walking” through the towns to see if I could find some of the locations.


    View Larger Map

    Even though I know the house number in Zámlyní and found the house easily, it looks like much of the home has been rebuilt. (A cousin told me last year that three was still a Vanac relative there until several years ago.)

    Simanek Family Home Photo, Predmir, Czech RepublicThe group of family photos I think are from Zámlyní just didn’t make an obvious match at first glance, although you can see a similar building style to most structures in the town. I’ll have to take another crack at it that town later.

    But, once I moved over to Předmíř with the photo at right, House #6 jumped right out!

    See the street view below for the location today…

    View Larger Map

    (Note: I tried to set up the current day street view above to the exact angle as the old photo, but you might notice that the view resets to a spot right in front of the house. You can drag the view and move it back to right for a better comparison.)

  • Mar21

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    A quick post for today: During my research to create my Tierneys in NYC Directories map, I happened upon a nice reference over at The Google’s fusion tables – a map containing all of the available Google maps icons and their names…

    You can find it here, or see below for a quick peek.

    I’m also in the process of reading “Beginning Google Maps Mashups with Mapplets, KML, and GeoRSS: From Novice to Professional“, so far I’m liking the format and content. I’ll report back when I’ve had a chance to get all the way through.

  • Jan31

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    I have been toying with mapping some one-name study data sets I have been creating and would like to get a better feel for. This post is a simple quick test of using Google Fusion Tables to map out the McKinnon Births by Nova Scotia County as reported at the NovaScotiaGenealogy.com web site.

    So, below are the number of children born with a McKinnon parent for the years 1864-1877, 1908-1910 and delayed registrations 1830-1910. Note that I have found a few name typos in the database that need to be looked into further, and this does not yet cover the “MacKinnon” spelling of the surname. (A work in progress.)

    Since the Fusion Table map does not add a legend on its own and I have not had time to fiddle with the script to add it here, I’ve supplied a screen capture of the settings to provide a better reference for the icon colors.

    You can, of course, click on any icon in the map to see the county name and actual count of births.



    Legend - McKinnon Births in Nova Scotia by County

    My ultimate goal is to create an easy to use mapping system that will allow users to visualize the data by years, names and locations with simple clicks. When I get all of my trials and tribulations sorted out, I will post some how-to’s on my process to compile and present the data.