Creating Your Own Map

I’m not a big fan of “genealogical activities” that fall into my definition of cutesy or time-wasting. I realize others may have different points of view and that’s their opinion.

Activities that have a purpose or cause me to analyze my materials in more details are always good. Creating maps, charts, and other visuals can often help in solving problems or in making discoveries or realizations that one never expected to make.

This map shows the approximate residential locations of fourteen of my adult ancestors who were living in 1870 in Hancock County, Illinois.

Approximate 1870 Residences of my Hancock County, Illinois ancestors–showing the general southwestern portion of the county.

I’ve always known these locations, but the map helps to visualize them in a little different perspective. It was somewhat of a challenge as I needed to review land records for those couples who were landowners to determine where their properties were located. The chart also included a reason for why each marker was placed where it was. None of my relatives during this time period were absentee landowners–all lived on their properties. Two families were not landowners during this time period and their residence is only known as precisely as the township. I suspect that the Fecht family lived near the Habbens, but have no direct evidence to support that theory.

And I immediately noticed the following when the image was added to this post:

  • I cut off part of Prairie Township–because I think both families lived in the southern half of that township. Assumptions can cause us to make subconscious editing decisions
  • I left out Barbara Haase who was living in the town of Warsaw



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