One of the coolest Web 2.0 applications I know is MapYourAncestors.com. The site will convert a list of your ancestors' birth, marriage, death, and other locations to points on a map. The service will then plot those points on a Google Map. In fact, it will even accept pictures, if you have them, and show them as thumbnail images on the displayed maps. Information can be displayed on maps, on satellite images, or as traditional pedigree charts. Best of all, the site will even accept data from the Mormons' web site at www.FamilySearch.org and from the big web site at www.Ancestry.com.
The results are displayed on your computer's screen. You can optionally use the standard Windows and Macintosh screen capture commands to copy-and-paste the maps into your word processor, genealogy program, or any other program.
Family Tree Maps are not the only service available. MapYourAncestors.com also offers the following:
Life Chronology Maps - Trace your ancestors around the globe as you record their life events. Upload photos to add life to your maps.
Satellite Maps - Overlook your ancestor's home from above. Draw any route on this map. (The satellite photos are obviously all made in recent years.)
Family Directory Maps - Whether it be your family directory or favorite camping spots, use MapYourAncestors to display and share your favorite spots.
Event Chronology Maps - Keep track of last year's road trip or backpacking adventure. Zoom in on the satellite map.
You can publish your maps and receive a URL. At any time in the future, you can give that URL to someone else in an e-mail or on a web site. The recipient can click on the URL and then see your map, with all your data shown, within seconds. I can see a lot of use for this in family newsletters or in the next Christmas e-mail greetings you send. You can show the route you covered on this year's genealogy cruise!
On the downside, data entry is rather tedious in this application. You have to enter each person's name and all the relevant facts by hand. It would be nice to be able to upload a GEDCOM file, but I could not find any option for that. Of course, if your data is already on FamilySearch.org or on Ancestry.com, you can save time by importing that data directly into MapYourAncestors.com.
I used the Family Tree Maps to display several generations of my ancestors. I then had a lot of fun plotting out my own travels over the years in a Life Chronology Map. You can do the same.
MapYourAncestors.com is available free of charge although the web site operators do accept support through donations. The site also features affiliate ads.
To try a neat application, go to http://MapYourAncestors.com.