Saturday, October 22, 2011

Have You Created A Life Road Map for Your Descendants?

A new project I completed this morning was to create a life road map and list the places I have lived or worked in my life using Google Maps. This could be created using any number of Internet map programs including MapQuest, Bing, or others you are familiar with or wish to try.

After creating the Google Map, I clicked F11 to change to a Full Screen. Toggle back using F11 to exit Full Screen when finished. Next I clicked the Prnt Scrn button on the top row keys to make a screen shot of my map and directions. After that, I used Ctrl C (Copy), opened my Microsoft Word Document Program in Landscape View, and used Ctrl V (Paste) to enter the map and directions list. I saved the document to my desktop as a .pdf file with title of my choice. I use the free .pdf Nitro Program which allows me freedom to change a .pdf into a .jpg photograph that I can use in several genealogy programs including this blog. I am not a professional, but have learned some technology steps that help me. Follow steps that work best for you. In the Comments below, I hope you will share steps that you use to convert a web page shot to a .pdf or .jpg image that you can use in your Internet genealogy programs.

The purpose is to show your descendants including your children and their children as well as extended family where your personal migration has taken place. If you have always lived in the same area or county, specific addresses will point out the changes you have made, even in a small area. This will help others who are interested in your life to have more than just a vague idea of who you are, where you have lived or worked, and perhaps raise some questions that you can answer while you are living as to why you stayed in one area or moved to more locations.

Start with your birth town or place. Keep adding destinations until you have added your current location. In this kind of project, some locations will be approximate as in my case. I may not remember the exact street address, or a particular building or address no longer exists. 

I made a combination map of destinations that includes the names of towns I lived in, the churches my dad and family were associated with, and the schools I taught in. If you wish to be more specific, it will be helpful for you to research your former addresses, names of buildings or companies you worked for, churches you attended, schools you went to, and any other places important to you. 

As time goes on, our brothers and sisters may have memories that fail or they may have led such busy lives that they only kept up with what their family was doing and where they lived. Children and grandchildren never really knew the part of their parents' lives that came before they were born or have not seen the migration in a visual map. Also, might it be possible to recreate a life road map for a loved one who has passed away? Definitely, yes! In great part, this is how genealogists spend the greatest amount of time and effort, going back in time to recreate some substance of their ancestors' lives using documents, photographs, and other sources that make their forbears in some sense "come alive". Why not life road maps, also?

Notes: Linda Sue Hollingsworth Littlejohn Robbins: Places she has lived, taught, and where she went to church. This list is fairly comprehensive. However, there are approximations as some original locations do not exist now. Google Maps did not add S, T, and U on the map. S, T, and U are approximately 30 miles north of Fort Worth, Texas. Not every home or apartment that Linda lived in is listed in this life road map. 
My life road map is not perfect in many ways, but it is a start that can be changed and modified over time to give a better picture of my migration. I hope you will give it a try also. Please share other ideas in Comments as to how you may use a Life Road Map. I have already thought of Places in the County, State, Country, World you have visited, Cemeteries you have visited or helped others with, Vacations or trips you have made with your family, and Locations where you were transferred with your job. 


  1. great idea, Linda. I'm already thinking of doing the same for myself and a few of my direct ancestors with interesting travels! Cheers.

  2. Thanks, Celia! I'll add another one this week, this time using Bing Maps. I find that every Internet map service offers a few different ways to show information.

  3. It has been found, however, that sometimes the information is not completely accurately.

  4. Thank you for your comment, Shanice. Not every free online map service is able to find all of the locations where we lived or worked. All locations are not programmed into every online map service.

    I may need to make an approximation for me or for my ancestors on life maps. The life map gives others in my family or genealogy friends an idea of the migration pattern I have made or that our ancestors made.

    I hope that you and others will find this exercise fun and valuable. I found that I had to "think" more about all of my locations. At some point I may not remember everything as I, along with others, are always aging.

    Another map service besides Google, such as Bing, MapQuest, or Yahoo map service may provide a better life map depending on how each was programmed to suit each person's needs.


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