Atlas of Historical County Boundaries

The online Atlas of Historical County Boundaries is a go-to resource for determining old U.S. county boundaries. 

atlas of historical county boundaries

The atlas of historical county boundaries

How to find county boundaries with the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries in three steps

1. From the Atlas home page, click on the state of interest from the national interactive map.

2. From the state page, click on View Index of Counties and Equivalents. This will show you all current and past county names. 

3. From this page, click on your targeted county. You’ll find a timeline of that county’s boundary changes.

Atlas_County_Boundaries_1

Use the timeline to discover what county your ancestors belonged to at any given time. Perhaps you’ll discover you should actually be looking for an ancestor’s marriage record or probate in a parent county, one that existed there before the current county, or in a successor county later carved out of this one.

Google Earth Bonus: The Atlas of Historical Boundary Changes state pages include downloadable maps compatible with Google Earth and Google Maps. If you are not using Google Earth for genealogy yet, watch Lisa Louise Cooke’s free video to see how and why you want to use this amazing 3D map of the world for your family history! You can learn more about downloading the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries files to Google Earth in Lisa’s book The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox. 

download files at Atlas of Historical County Boundaries

Learn More about Using Interactive Maps for Genealogy

 

Listen to the Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast on Android Devices

FOR ANDROID USERS: How to Get the Premium Feed on Your Android Mobile Device

Recommended app: Podcast Addict for Android, available in the Google Play Store.

Follow these steps to set up the Premium Podcast using the Podcast Addict app for Android. Examples shown below are on a tablet, so keep in mind that it may look slightly different on your device.

1. Download the Podcast Addict App

      Podcast Addict app

Google Play Store

On your device, go to the Google Play Store and download the Podcast Addict app.
(*Note: If you’ve never used the Google Play store you may be required to set up an account, including payment information. This is unrelated to Genealogy Gems, but necessary in order to download apps from the Google Play Store.)

Recommended app: Podcast Addict for Android, available in the Google Play Store.

Follow these steps to set up the Premium Podcast using the Podcast Addict app for Android.
NOTE: Examples shown below are on a tablet, so keep in mind that it may look slightly different on your device.

2. Add the Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast Feed

Tap the + icon to add a feed

Tap “RSS Feed, YouTube/Twitch Channel, Soundcloud URL”

In the “RSS feed URL” field, copy and paste this address to ensure it is exactly correct with no extra spaces at the end (the feed address is case sensitive):
https://lisalouisecooke.com/Premium_Feed/feed.xml

  • Check the box for “Authentication (Premium Podcast)”
  • Type in your Genealogy Gems Premium Membership username and password. You MUST use your membership username, NOT your email address.
  • Tap “Add”

Your Podcast home screen will now have the Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast.

Tap the podcast icon.  It may appear yellow like this or it may be our logo) to reveal all episodes, starting with the most recent episode at the top of the list.

3. Downloading Episodes

You can download episodes so that you can listen offline, without an internet connection or using your device’s cellular data. Download an episode by tapping the down arrow icon on the right:

Once the episode is downloaded, a play button will appear that you can click to listen. A small download icon will appear indicating that this episode is downloaded to your device:

3. Listening to Episodes & Viewing Show Notes

When you open the app, tap the Genealogy Gems Premium podcast to access episodes:

You can go straight to the episodes you’ve already downloaded through the app’s menu. Tap the three lines icon:

Then tap Downloaded episodes:

On this screen are only the episodes you have downloaded for offline listening. To return to all episodes just tap the 3 line icon in the upper left corner.

4. Deleting Downloaded Episodes

After you have listened to a downloaded episode, you can delete it to free up the space on your device. (Don’t worry, all of the episodes are still available through the main podcast feed in Podcast Addict.) To delete an episode in the Downloaded Episodes area, tap the 3 dots icon on the episode you want to delete:

(Note: If you want to delete all the episodes that you’ve already played, click the 3 dots icon at the very top of the right-hand corner, and then tap “Delete Played Episodes”)

On the page for that downloaded episode tap the trash can icon to delete it from your device:

Need More Help?

If you’re experiencing error messages or other technical difficulties, please visit our Premium eLearning FAQ page and head to the Troubleshooting section towards the bottom. You’ll find answers to the most common causes of problems and solutions and tips to fix them.

How to Name Sources in RootsMagic 7


How to name sources in RootsMagic 7 is a matter of personal preference. My preference? Simply and consistently!

Helen recently transitioned from Mac Family Tree 7 to RootsMagic 7. She sent me this question about how to name sources in RootsMagic:

“I stripped out all sources from my old file before exporting the GEDCOM because I wanted to start fresh with a consistent system in RootsMagic 7. I have watched their webinars for sourcing and understand the basic how-to. I’d love to hear your strategy for naming your sources… say census records. If the names are too general, then you have a lot of data entry for each incident. But if the name is too specific, your source list gets very long very quickly. Do you add ID numbers to your sources?

Thanks to Helen for the question! Naming your sources in RootsMagic is really a personal preference, so the first rule of thumb is not so much about what you call them, but rather that you do so consistently. If you have a naming convention that you follow that works, having a very long list won’t be as intimidating.

I used to number my sources long ago in my old database software. Actually that software did it automatically which I really liked, mainly because I put that number in the name of the digital file for the corresponding record image. RootsMagic 7 allows us to attach our images, so that is no longer an issue.

Here’s an example of my simple approach to naming sources:

Record type > Year > Surname > First name (head of household)

Example: Census 1940 Moore Jay Bee

This way, all census records are grouped together in the source list. The date gives me a time frame of reference (i.e. it is Jay Bee Moore my grandfather rather than his grandfather), Surname, then head of households first name.

If the source is about Jay Bee himself, it works. The source may also mention his wife Pauline, and his son Ronald, but I don’t need to take up space including all of those name in the file name. I know that if I need a source for where Pauline was in 1940, I would find her under her husband Jay Bee. This mirrors my hard drive organization methodology, which I teach in my Genealogy Gems Premium videos.

What if there’s another related family on the same page of that census? This is where personal preference comes in. I save that same census page to the other family’s surname folder on my computer as well. Yes, it is a duplication (and I rarely duplicate effort), but in this case it works for me and I’m consistent. I find it fits better with my hard drive organization, and saves me time down the road when I’m working with a particular family. I could have named the source “Census 1940 Kings Co CA ED16-20 p6,” which is indeed one single unique page of that census but that just isn’t as helpful to me later for retrieval.

Remember, these are your sources, and you can do with them as you please. You are the only one who will be working with them. Again, I’m sharing a process that works well for me. And I always keep my eyes open for new and better ways to do things like this, but even when I find them, I weigh them against the question, “Do I really want to invest the time in changing this that I would have invested in research?” Usually the answer is “No!” unless my way has a proven flaw that will cause me more grief in the end.

There are lots of other ways to do it out there. You know me, I often turn to Google for answers. If you have a question, chances are someone out there has had it too. Google can help you quickly tap into answers. A Google search of how to name sources in Rootsmagic leads to a web page called Organizing Source Names in RM5. It’s a discussion forum where someone posted a similar question. There are a couple of very viable options offered and great discussion about how to decide what works for you. This is one reason I like and recommend RootsMagic, which is a sponsor of the free Genealogy Gems podcast–because they provide so many helpful tutorials with their software. Another great resource is a blog series by Randy Seaver (click the label “RootsMagic”) on how to enter a new source and create a citation.

More Gems on Family History Software

Keeping Up with Online and Master Family Trees

“Is That Software Expired?” Why I Wouldn’t Use Obsolete Family Tree Maker Software

How to Download and Backup Your Ancestry Data: Why To Keep Your Master Tree at Home

 

 

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