Place My Past Included in Family Tree Magazine’s 101 Best Genealogy Websites of 2014

We are very pleased to find Place My Past included in Family Tree Magazine’s 101 Best Genealogy Web Sites.

Each year, Family Tree Magazine publishes the 101 Best Websites for family history to guide genealogists to the top websites where they can make family history research progress, and to honour the individuals and organisations who create those sites.  Family Tree Magazine is America’s largest-circulation genealogy magazine, helping readers discover, preserve and celebrate their family history.

We are very proud of being included with such a great list of sites.

101 Best Genealogy Websites of 2014

New Login Option

For our initial release of Place My Past we opted to use social accounts such as Facebook and Google for logging into Place My Past. We figured that using these accounts would be more convenient for our users, one less password that you need to remember.

We’ve had some great feedback from some of our users (and potential users) that you would also like the option of having a username and password specific to Place My Past. We love our users and the feedback you provide, so I’d like to introduce you to our new login option:

Use a Place My Past account

Use a Place My Past account

Don’t forget that when you do use a social account, we only collect your name and email address and we won’t post anything to your timeline. We only ask for the same information with our new Place My Past accounts.

As always, please contact us if you have any questions.

Scottish Post Office Directory Dataset

We have added a new dataset of some Scottish post office directories of Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh for the years 1784 – 1905.  It contains the the  names and addresses of over 229,000 individuals and businesses.  The data was provided by AddressingHistory, an EDINA, University of Edinburgh and National Library of Scotland Project.

Once you’ve added the dataset you’ll have a search form on the layer panel where you can search on place and type of record.

The results will be loaded on the map in the form of pins and clicking on the pin will show the search result details.

Scottish Post Office Directory 1784 - 1905

Scottish Post Office Directory 1784 – 1905

Great Old Maps – London

Keeping up with our collection of great maps I’d like to show off a couple of maps that show some of London’s great landmarks.

The first map is of Tower Street, London in 1772.

Tower Street - London 1772

Tower Street – London 1772

As you can see in the image, we already have a number of pins in this area already. I’ve also overlaid some an extra dataset that shows some of the Monastic Houses in London which are shown as the bright pink pin.

The next map is just down the Thames a little and shows the Walbrook and Dowgate Ward’s in 1720.

Walbrook and Dowgate Ward, London 1720

Walbrook and Dowgate Ward, London 1720

It’s really great to see places come to life with some great detailed maps. If you would like us to feature a particular area, feel free to drop us a note, we’d love to dive into it for you.

Great Old Maps – San Francisco 1912

We have a number of great maps that are feature worthy, we though it might be fun to feature them here on the blog from time to time.

The map that we want to show you is this great map of San Francisco in 1912.

San Francisco - 1912

San Francisco – 1912

The map aligns well to the modern base map as the transparent view above shows. As we zoom the map we also see that it scales nicely, its very possible to read the street names and make out the great details of this map.

Zoomed in view of San Francisco

Zoomed in view of San Francisco

We have put together a page where you can zoom and change the transparency of this great map of San Francisco.

Easily discover historic maps and datasets

We’ve added a new page to Place My Past which really helps you to discover our historic maps and historic datasets that can be overlaid onto your family tree.

The gallery page has a number of featured maps and provides options to filter the maps and data:

Place My Past - Map and dataset gallery

Map and dataset gallery

Users can refine the items that are shown by using the search refiners on the left hand side. These can also be used in conjunction with the free form search.

We show nice thumbnails for the maps, but we also have contextual icons for our datasets:

Place My Past - Historical dataset

Overlay of a region

These overlays produce clickable regions such as our Paris district example:

Dataset Overlay

We also show a different icon for datasets that are point based.

Place My Past - Historic Map Pins

Map Pins – Historical locations

This produces a set of map pins that can be clicked on to reveal more information, the example below is showing the Historic Places listings in Ashtabula County, Ohio.

Place My Past historic places map pins

We are constantly adding new datasets and historic maps to our collection, so keep an eye out for new ones. We hope this new tool will help you discover new historic maps and historic datasets that you can use to build up a better picture of your ancestors.


Overlay datasets on your map

We’ve recently added something that can really enhance your mapping experience and help you discover new details about your family tree. We’ve collected a number of datasets that can be added to your maps. These datasets can be district boundaries drawn directly on the map or they might include specific points of interest in the form of pins. One of the datasets might be the Arrondissements of Paris:

Dataset Overlay

Another dataset type is the historical transit facilities of the twin cities, which has points for all of the relevant locations along with the location overview.

Pin Dataset

Datasets can be turned on and off using the layer panel on the right hand side of the map:

Layers Panel

Adding new datasets is easy, just navigate to your ‘My Datasets‘ page, which will list your current dataset collections as well as providing the ability for you to search for more:

My Datasets

We are constantly adding new datasets and new ways to let you know when a particular dataset may provide you with valuable information, so keep an eye out on the blog for more information.


Find historical maps quickly

We’ve added a new feature that makes it easy to view the available historical maps at the location you are currently viewing. When you’re on the main mapping screen you might notice on the right hand side our new panel:

Historical Maps in viewable area

When you click on the view link a dialog will be shown listing all of the maps:

Historic Maps

Clicking on the ‘Zoom to item’ link will load the map onto the main map and zoom to the highest zoom level. It will also add the map to your current maps which can be found by opening the layer panel on the right hand side.

Here’s a quick little video to demonstrate the features:

We think this nicely compliments the tools that you can find in your ‘My Maps’,  which is where you can search for maps by a keyword.


Mark up the places that feature in your family tree

In our last post we showed how to embed your family tree into a website. This is great for for sharing information about people, but what about some of the other information that isn’t specifically related to an individual?

I’d like to introduce our map annotation tools which give you the ability to add extra information to your family tree. This can be things like marking out the boundaries of property that was owned or maybe a route that you took to walk to school or perhaps the location of a grave site. The list of things that you might want to add is pretty long, I hope this gives you a good starting point.

Getting started is really easy, navigate to the ‘My Family’ link, you’ll notice a few controls on the right hand side:


Mark up the places that feature in your family tree

Mark up the places that feature in your family tree

Once you select one of these controls you can start drawing on the map. We’ve put together a quick video to show how this works.

Once you’ve drawn your annotation on the map, simply click on the item to reveal a popup that has text fields for a title and a description:

Add a new annotation

We also give you an option to show in the embedded view. If this option is checked the item will show up when it has been embedded into a website. Otherwise it’s just on your map for you.

We’ve love to hear about some of the things that you would like to mark up on your family tree maps, feel free to leave a note in the comments with your ideas.


Embed Your Family Tree

We have added a new feature for Place My Past subscribers which gives you the ability to embed an interactive map of your family tree into a website. The end result looks something like this:

It’s really easy to use. If you navigate to your My Family you will see a  button with “</>”  on it on the right hand side of the map, clicking on this will open a panel that provides the embed code.

You can then copy and paste this into your blog post or web page.

Place My Past will make sure that any living individuals in your family tree or other individuals that have been marked as private are not shown on the map.

Hope you find this helpful.