Do you ever get lost when looking for ancestral hometowns in Europe or other parts of the world? Boundaries change–national ones as well as regional ones. Place names change. Several little villages may all have gone by the same name over time. And darn those spelling and place name variants!
There’s a great online tool for finding places on a map. It’s the FamilySearch StandardFinder. Under the Place tab, enter the place name that’s got you befuddled. You’ll get a result screen that looks something like this:
Column 1: The official name of the place.
Column 2: Link/official name to the jurisdiction that the place exists within.
Column 3: “Normalized” variant names (i.e. other names the place is known by)
Column 4: General/high-level type (the type) of the place. Div: The more specific type (if applicable). Code: The code for the general type. FC: The feature code (taken from NGA’s feature code).
Column 5: The years within which the place existed (typically within the jurisdiction it belongs to).
Column 6: The full official (standardized) name of the place and its jurisdiction.
Column 7: Culture: The generalized culture that the place exists within.
Column 8: ISO code: The ISO code (if applicable).
Column 9: Geo code: the “centroid” (or central spot) of the place specified as the latitude and longitude.
Column 10: The permanent identifier of the place, useful for referencing the place within applications, systems, and products.”
A couple of these columns are a little technical for me, but I can still extract a LOT of information from these results! Place names, variant names, jurisdictions, lifespan of that location, latitude/longitude and all the possible places a possible location might be.
You’ll likely notice that there are Standard Finders for names and dates, too!
Learn more about online strategies for map research with Lisa’s 2-CD series, Using Google Earth for Genealogy.
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