Ways to Use Google Earth for Genealogy – Elevenses with Lisa Episode 12

Episode 12 Video and Show Notes

Live show air date: June 18, 2020
Join me for Elevenses with Lisa, the online video series where we take a break, visit and learn about genealogy and family history.

The first 4 minutes of the video is the “Waiting Room.” This welcomes viewers and counts down to the start of the live show. This week’s Waiting Room features a Google Earth tour of about 100 Elevenses with Lisa viewers who have commented in the Chat forum during the YouTube Live show.

The Google Earth discussion begins at the 5:15 mark.

Today Topic: Ways to Use Google Earth for Genealogy

Google Earth Pro is now free and simply known as Google Earth. It’s available in three forms:

  1. Google Earth Web (in the Chrome browser),
  2. the Google Earth app,
  3. and downloadable desktop computer software which offers the most robust set of tools.

This session focuses on the desktop software.

Google Earth provides a 360-degree, 3-dimensional way to view your ancestor’s world! It’s a tool that can be used for solving genealogical questions as well as visually telling the stories of your ancestors’ lives.

 

From You:  

From Lynnette: “I love spending time with you on Elevenses. I was especially thrilled to view the google earth for genealogy segment on Episode #11 especially because San Francisco is my hometown (although I grew up in Menlo Park).

All of my great grandparents came to San Francisco in the mid-late 1850’s. So, I decided to jump into Google Earth and see if I could find the homes of my family.

There definitely is a learning curve for Google Earth but I am wading through all of the help you have on your website! I just ordered your toolbox book also. I was thrilled to see that you will be doing Google Earth on June 18 on Elevenses.

My great grandparents, George and Sarah Atkinson’s home was located 1876 15th Street, SF. I entered the address into Google Earth and up popped their home. AMAZING! 

George Atkinson's home. Google Earth for Genealogy with Lisa Louise Cooke

Compare this photo with how it appears in Google Earth today in episode 12. (Photo courtesy of Lynnette Bates. )

Very few changes have been made since they resided there about100 years ago. It is incredible!

My grandfather’s shop was at 1785 15th Street and they had previously lived at 11 Clementina St. Neither on theses places exist now but I have located all of the places on the David Rumsey 1915 SF map although I have not figured out how to add it to Google Earth I have wonderful large photos of all of these places.

Lynnette's family

Lynnette’s family in front of their home. (Courtesy of Lynnette Bates)

My family actually did not live far from yours. Google Earth has added a new dimension to my desire to preserve and share my family history. Thanks again for all of the fantastic hints, inspiring stories, and wonderful ideas and encouragement that you provide! Happy grandmothering!  (We have 38 grandchildren!)”
Lynnette B.

After watching this episode Lynnette followed up on her progress.

“It was fun to see my information on your Elevenses this morning!  I really want to put this all together.  I have added the 1915 SF map and pinned the home on Clementina and the home and shop on 15th Street.  I have added a description but can’t figure out how to add the actual old photo to the description!  Will keep working on it! (Note from Lisa: See Chapter 18, page 201 in my book The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox.)

George Atkinson was a wood turner.  He exhibited at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago.  I had fun looking at YouTube videos last night of the fair.  You are just giving us too many great ideas!  Thank you. (Lisa’s note: Read my article How to Find Family History on YouTube in 5 Steps.)

I also found some other interesting information on your website.  The article and map of shipwrecks around Ireland was fascinating. (Note: She is referring to my article 5 Free Online Historical Maps for Genealogy.) I actually located the site where my great uncle George Henry Flack died on the shipwreck of the Alfred D Snow in 1888. You never know what can be found even after an exhaustive search!”

Getting Started with Google Earth

Download the free software by following these steps:

  1. Go to http://www.google.com/earth/download/gep/agree.html
  2. Click the blue download button
  3. Read the Terms and Conditions
  4. If you agree to them, click the Agree and Download button
  5. Follow the installation guide
  6. When complete click Run Google Earth (Your computer must be connected to the Internet.)

 

Navigating Google Earth on the Desktop

The Google Earth software is comprised of the following components:

3-D Viewer
View the globe and its terrain in this window. Use the navigation tools in the upper right corner to zoom in and out and view the map from different perspectives.

Toolbar
The toolbar above the 3-D Viewer provides one click access to Google Earth tools such as placemarks, polygons, overlays, paths, tours, historical imagery, emailing, printing, and more.

Search Panel
Locate a geographic location by typing the address, latitude and longitude coordinates, or names of the location (ex. Library of Congress) in the search box.

Places Panel
Save, organize, and revisit your placemarks and maps in the Places Panel. These are your private files, stored on your computer.

Layers Panel
Access a collection of points of geographic interest that can be displayed on the 3-D Viewer. Includes features such as roads, cemeteries, churches, and historical maps.

 

Cemeteries in Google Earth

You can use Google Earth to search for cemeteries in the areas where you ancestors lived. Start by searching for the name and town in the Search box. Google Earth can also show you where cemeteries are. It’s fairly comprehensive but of course may not include all tiny privately family cemeteries.

 

How to Find Cemeteries and Houses of Worship with Google Earth:

  1. In the Layers panel click to open More
  2. Click Place Categories
  3. Toward the bottom of the list click the small arrow to open Places of Worship
  4. In the nested menu click Cemeteries. Small cemetery icons should appear on the map. If you don’t see them right away, try zooming in or out depending on how close to the ground you are.
  5. In this list you can also click to turn on a variety of places of worship such as churches and synagogues.
  6. Hover your mouse over an icon to reveal the name.
  7. Click the icon to reveal the pop-up box which may contain more information including a website link or photo.

 

Rumsey Historic Maps

How to Find and Turn on History Maps:

  1. In the Layers panel, click to open (Click the small arrow next to Gallery to open the nested menu.)
  2. Click the box for Rumsey Historic Maps.
  3. You should see Rumsey icons appear on the screen. If you don’t, zoom farther out until you do.
  4. Click the desired Rumsey icon on the map.
  5. Click the map thumbnail image in the pop-up box to overlay the map.

How to Download More Rumsey Maps:

  1. Click any Rumsey icon
  2. At the bottom of the pop-up box click the link that says Download links to all Rumsey historical maps.
  3. This will download a file containing several hundred more historic map overlays to the Temporary folder at the bottom of the Places
  4. Drag and drop the file onto MyPlaces at the top of the Places
  5. Save your work in the menu: File > Save > Save MyPlaces. 

Search for and download more free historic maps from the David Rumsey website. The features nearly 100,000 historic maps. Read my article The Best Way to Find Old Maps for Genealogy at the David Rumsey Website for instructions on finding and downloading free maps from the David Rumsey website.

Placemarks are the Containers for Your Content

You can use placemarks to mark locations on the map. They can be customized with a variety of icons and can be colored coded. Placemarks can include photos, images, text, website links and HTML code.

How to Create a Placemark:

  1. In the PLACES panel click the tour folder once to highlight it
  2. Zoom to the location where you want to add content
  3. Click the PLACEMARK button in the Google Earth toolbar
  4. Name the placemark and add a description of what it will include if you wish
  5. Click OK to close the placemark dialogue box
  6. Now the placemark appears in your tour folder and on the map.
  7. To edit the placemark so you can add additional content, right-click the placemark in the PLACES panel and select PROPERTIES
  8. When done click the OK button at the bottom of the placemark dialogue box

Resources

Cooke, Lisa Louise, The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, Genealogy Gems Publications, print. www.ShopGenealogyGems.com

Cooke, Lisa Louise, Google Earth for Genealogy digital video download series, Genealogy Gems Publications, www.ShopGenealogyGems.com

Use coupon code EARTH11 to get 25% off both of these resources.

The Genealogist's Google Toolbox Third edition Lisa Louise Cooke

Use coupon code EARTH11 to get 25% off

Genealogy Gems Premium Member Resources:

Log into your membership here on the website. In the menu under Premium click Premium Videos and then click the Geographic topic tile. There you will find 6 videos with downloadable handouts: 

  • Google Earth for Genealogy (Beginner) 
  • Create a Free Google Earth Historic Map Collection 
  • 5 Ways to Use Old Maps for Genealogy
  • Best Websites for Finding Historical Maps
  • Time Travel with Google Earth (Intermediate) 
  • Finding and Using Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

Today’s Teacup

I picked up my mug a few years ago while on the road to one of my speaking gigs. We stopped by the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum in Mansfield, Missouri and toured the famed author’s beloved Rocky Ridge Farm. 

Laura Ingalls Wilder's Rocky Ridge Farm in Mansfield MO

Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum

From the Website:

The Historic Farmhouse

 “As visitors make their trek to the historic Rocky Ridge Farm, the first sight they’ll see is Laura’s and Almanzo’s beloved farmhouse. It remains as it was in 1957 and stands as an official project of the Save America’s Treasures National Trust for Historical Preservation. 

Laura, Almanzo and daughter, Rose, arrived in Mansfield from South Dakota, August 30, 1894. They purchased a forty-acre farm, which had a one-room log cabin near the spring and ravine. After living in the log cabin through the first winter they built a room onto the side of it in the spring of 1895. The next spring (1896) they moved the new room to the present historic house location, where it is now the kitchen. A second room, with an attic space above it, was added to create a two-room house with an attic bedroom for Rose.”

Stay smart and stay brave! Thanks so much for watching friend. I’ll talk to you soon.

Next Episode of Elevenses with Lisa

Episode 13 will air Live on June 25, 2020 at the Genealogy Gems YouTube channel. Set your reminder now here at the Genealogy Gems YouTube channel.

Resources: 

Live Chat PDF– Click here to download the live Chat from episode 12 which includes my answers to your questions. 

Show Notes PDF – Genealogy Gems Premium Members can click here to download the show notes PDF for this episode. (Log in required.) Become a Premium Member here

I Want to Hear from You

At the end of the episode I suggested that you try and map out your own story starting by setting a placemark in the location where you were born. Did you give it a try? What other projects are you excited to get going on? And of course I’m always interested in your questions and feedback. Please leave a comment below. This is your chance to join our community’s conversation!

 

Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 238

The Genealogy Gems Podcast is the leading genealogy and family history show. Launched in 2007, the show is hosted by genealogy author, keynote presenter, and video producer Lisa Louise Cooke. The podcast features genealogy news, interviews, stories and how-to instruction. It can be found in all major podcasting directories, or download the exclusive Genealogy Gems Podcast app to listen to all the episodes and receive bonus content.

Click below to listen to this episode:

Podcast host: Lisa Louise Cooke
February 2020
Download the episode mp3

Do you love genealogy, mysteries and puzzle solving? Well in this episode we have not one but two tales of mystery.

The first has a Valentine’s theme centered around a mysterious love letter. Professional genealogist Kathleen Ackerman will be here to share how a love letter that was missing its last page took her on a genealogical journey full of surprises.

Our second story is a mystery full of twists,  turns and murder that will ultimately resurrect your faith that what you think is lost, may still be found.

Genealogy News

Ancestry Lays off 6 Percent of Employees due to Consumer Slump

23andMe laid off 100 employees due to slowing DNA kit sales

Genealogy Gems Mailbox

The Genealogy Gems Mailbox

Emails from Genealogy Gems Podcast listeners.

Frank recently wrote in saying that he listened to Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 227 and my conversation with Ran Snir, MyHeritage DNA Product Manager about their genetic genealogy tools The Theory of Family Relativity™  and AutoClusters. This got him thinking about his own test results and a frustration he has had trying to find matches and records in pursuit of this Galician roots. 

Frank writes:

“Ancestry’s records are almost non-existent, except for some parish records, but this is the region from which Cuba and Argentina were populated, and the ultimate ancestry of Cubans in the US. I have done the AncestryDNA test but my matches are few and far between.

On the other hand, I have worked with a Spanish genealogist and have some records that go back to the 17th century. Is there any program like Ancestry,  23andme, or My Heritage, that can do Galician (Spanish) genealogy well.”

Regarding DNA matches and testing pools:

DNA companies test all types of people and because testers can download their results and upload them to other companies, their pools of people are becoming more similar. Generally, they don’t focus on particular groups. They just report the results based on the pool they currently have. 

Regarding genealogy records:

Start with the FamilySearch Wiki page on Galicia includes links to records within each province.

Conduct a Google Search: Galician (Spanish) genealogy “Galicia”. Click here to see the Google search results.

Additional Resources:

The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox Third Edition by Lisa Louise Cooke available in the Genealogy Gems Store.

The Genealogist's Google Toolbox Third edition Lisa Louise Cooke

Available in the Genealogy Gems Store.

Lisa’s video classes and handouts on Google search are included in Genealogy Gems Premium Membership. Learn more here.

Genealogy Gems premium elearning

Click to learn more about Genealogy Gems Premium Membership.

From Linda:

“I am a regular listener to your podcasts.  And I am the family historian.  I recently received a trove of documents from my Uncle who had been working to chart the family for 25 years.  He passed away last year.  His most recent quest was to find as many old family pictures as possible and I have continued to reach out to distant relatives.  I enjoyed the recent podcast about the New York photographer website and hope it will help me identify people in some of these very old pictures. 

(Episode 236Interview with David Lowe, Specialist for the Photography Collection at the New York Public Library on a free tool they provide that can help you identify your old photos. Also a discussion of how to find unindexed records at Ancestry.com.)

My question:  a friend of mine has inherited all of her family’s old family pictures.  The pictures are from the late 1800’s.  She doesn’t know who most of the people are.  She is not interested in learning and apparently there aren’t any members of the family who have taken the role of family historian.  Is there anything to do with these pictures other than to dispose of them?  It makes me sad to know that no one is interested.  When I learned a branch of my family tree had tossed all of their old family pictures, I felt awful and it has taken me some time to accept that I might not ever find replacements for this branch.”

There are ways to make real progress identifying photos. I’m going to be covering more of this on upcoming episodes. I would start by asking your friend to write down states / counties / towns where she thinks her family lived, as well as her direct ancestors as far as she knows (even if it’s just grandparents or great grandparents.) With some basic genealogical info on the most recent members of the family and some possible locations, you could then post at least some of the photos on Deadfred.com.

This is a site where people search on families and locations and other identifying information to find unidentified photos of their family members. Many, many photos have made their way to family historians through DeadFred. 

If you don’t have time to post them on DeadFred, and you do know the county where some of the photos came from, you could offer to donate them to the local genealogical society. They might be willing to take them, and their volunteers might be willing to do it. 

I agree with you, it would be such a shame to toss them because you can be sure there is someone out there who would treasure them and may even hold answers. 

MyHeritageThe free podcast is sponsored by MyHeritage

GEM: The Scrapbook Mystery

 

Bill and his dad in 1973

1973: Bill with his dad about six months before he died. (Courtesy of Bill Compton)

 

The Compton Scrapbook

The Compton Scrapbook (courtesy of Bill Compton.)

 

Article featuring William R. Compton in the Scrapbook

Article featuring William R. Compton in the Scrapbook (Courtesy of Bill Compton)

 

William R. Compton, US Marshall

William R. Compton, US Marshall (Courtesy of Bill Compton)

 

Donald Clark featured in the news

Donald Clark featured in the news

Read the news about the murder that occurred on the property where the scrapbook was found:Centerville Fire contained on property where triple murder suspect Donald Clark lived

Resources Discussed:

Learn more about how to blog about your family history. It may just lead to a treasure like it did for Bill. Here is a collection of articles at Genealogy Gems on family history blogging.

Learn more about how to set up your own blog by watching the videos on how to blog at my Genealogy Gems YouTube channel.

Visit Bill Compton’s blog.

The free podcast is sponsored by RootsMagic

Rootsmagic

GEM: The Love Letter

Kathleen Ackerman graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of General Studies: Family History degree in April 2012. She now has her own research company, Finding Ties that Bind. She is also working on a Master’s Degree in Genealogy, Paleography and Heraldry from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland.

Kathleen Ackerman

Kathleen Ackerman

Kathleen is the director for the Cave Creek Arizona Family History Center.  She loves to help others as they learn about their family history. For seven years, she served as the Treasurer and British Institute Director for the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History.  Besides her volunteer and school work, she spends most of her free time either working on her husband’s English and Scottish lines or playing with her granddaughter.

“In 2010, my mother found three pages of a letter addressed to “Mamie” among my grandparent’s things. My grandmother has passed away and my grandfather did not remember who Mamie was or why they had the letter. My mom sent me the letter in hopes that I could figure it out.”

Mamie - a genealogy mystery

Miriam (Mamie) Smith Patelzick 1891-1911 (Photo courtesy of Kathleen Ackerman)

 The last page which may have contained the writer’s signature was missing. This is where Kathleen’s search began.

The first three pages of the love letter

The first three pages of the love letter. (Courtesy of Kathleen Ackerman)

Kathleen turned to census records from the time period, and Google Maps to verify where Medicine Lodge was in comparison to Small, Idaho, the place from which the letter was sent. No such town could be found.

She then turned to old maps to see if the town had once existed. She used maps on the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection website. She found a map of Idaho from 1909, that showed Small, Medicine Lodge river and Reno (all mentioned in letter). They were all in Fremont County, Idaho. Her confidence that she had the right person grew.

Historic Map of Idaho

1909 Idaho map published by Geo. F. Cram, Chicago (DavidRumsey.com)

The search moved on into vital records. A marriage certificate for Mamie and William Patelzick in Dec 1910 was located.Perhaps they had eloped?

Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t listened to the episode yet. The next image reveals the writer of the letter.

Later, Kathleen’s mother surprisingly found the final page of the letter:

Found! The last page of the love letter.

Found! The last page of the love letter. (Courtesy of Kathleen Ackerman)

A surprise indeed, and a mystery solved!

Thank you to Kathleen Ackerman for sharing her story! You can visit her at her website, Finding Ties that Bind.

Don’t wait another day. Get the computer backup that I use: www.backblaze.com/Lisa

Backblaze lisa louise cooke

Announcing the Next Generation of Google for Genealogy

The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox By Lisa Louise Cooke

Discover the answers to your family history mysteries using cutting-edge Google search strategies. A comprehensive resource for all of Google’s free tools, this easy-to-follow book provides the how-to information you need in plain English. You will first gain a strong foundation in how to search quickly and effectively. Then you’ll dig deeper into solving real-life challenges that genealogists regularly face. This book will show you how to flex your new Google muscles by mining each of the free tools to deliver satisfying and enlightening results. You will develop a mastery of Google that will serve you now and for years to come.

This book features:

  • Step-by-step clear instructions and loads of images that help you easily follow along.
  • Tips for searching faster and achieving better results to solve the real challenges that genealogists face.
  • How to go beyond Google search by using the wide range of powerful free tools that Google offers.
  • Cutting-edge technology like Google Earth to tell your family’s stories in new and exciting ways!
The Genealogist's Google Toolbox Third edition Lisa Louise Cooke

Click this image to order your copy of the book.

Download the Show Notes PDF

 

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