My family and I have just gotten home from our holiday. We visited a town on our holidays that I spent a lot of time in as a kid. I pointed out different places and told them stories about what it was like when I was a kid. I told them that our weekly library visit started from me being taken to the local library there as a kid. I took lots of pictures of different places and had to use my imagination a bit to remember how things used to be like thirty years ago. One place that was still very much the same was my Dad’s house. Not exactly the same but definitely remember many things that fascinated me as a kid there. I took lots of photos as it will one day go into my family history. Including the houses in my family histories has always been important to me. I think to actually stand in the same place and see where the family lived really breathes some life to them.
The first step in finding addresses of your ancestors. There are many places that you can find addresses; electoral records, census returns, birth, marriage and death certificates. The next step is using google maps to see the house, or park in my case above
At the top is the search bar and you just type in your address. (Try out your own address first to get the hang of it.) A picture of your home will show up in the search bar and a red dot icon will show on your map. Click on the image of your home to get a “street view”. It will give you the effect of standing right on the street outside your home. If you want to wander around the street, press on the arrow on the ground. If you want to stand in the one spot and turn around hold the right click button on you mouse and move in the direction you want to look at.
Tip – be careful that it is the right house number, as I googled my Dad’s house and the house next door come up. Either check for any house numbers on the letterbox, curb or the house to make sure you have a picture of the right house.
Now if you want to include a picture in your family history. Press “Ctrl” and “Prt Scr” (print screen). This will drop into a folder with screen shots in it. You will then need to open it up in “Paint” to be able to edit and save it. Use the “Select” tool to select the part of the picture that you want to keep. I like to include the search box with the address in it as a reminder and I crop out all the tool bars and unwanted stuff. Then when you have included what you want press to “crop”. If you don’t like what you have done, the undo button is at the top of the screen. Then save the picture with “Save As” to your family history folder, I usually save it as a jpeg.
I have spent time walking around streets where my ancestors lived through google maps and I love it. Even if I don’t find a house there I can still imagine what the house looked like from the other houses around. I still like to see whether they lived near the hustle and bustle of the city or the quiet of the country. There are many things to find if you look and it makes me even more excited to make it to the home one day for myself.
This is a great way to get a feel for a place without the expense of travel. Have you found anything exciting out while using google maps?