“Made Your Own Map?” appeared recently as a tip of Genealogy Tip of the Day with the map accompanying this post as the illustration.

The map is a rough sketch, but drawing it was a really good exercise for me. As soon as I finished it, I realized the scale was slightly off, the position of several buildings was skew, and I had left a few things out. But drawing it really got me to remembering things I had long since forgotten.

There is an aerial photograph of my Grandparents’ farm that was taken in the mid-1950s. That’s approximately twenty years before my memory starts. I did not allow myself to look at the aerial photograph until I had drawn my own map. When I looked at the photograph, it became clear to me I had the relative position of some of the buildings incorrect. There was at least one building standing in the 1950s that had been torn down before my memory starts. The garage cannot be seen in the 1950s photograph (because of the trees).

The drawing of the photograph made me think of things besides the buildings. Things about my Grandma, things about the time I spent there, and things about the farm. The physical act of creating the map apparently triggered memories that have long been dormant.

So that relative who cannot remember things? Have them draw a map of the farm, the position of rooms in a family home, or something else from their childhood. You might be surprised at what they remember.




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