Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I use this program?

  • Google Earth makes your Family Tree look cool! Actually, there are real benefits in viewing the geographical movements of your ancestors -
  • After researching your tree for a while you will probably find that you have relations in various parts of the world. Without some way of visualising these places you may not be aware of the proximity of relations to each other at various times of their lives. Geographical proximity may indicate a higher probability of a connection between individuals in your tree. As a personal example, I live in the United Kingdom and have a reasonable knowledge of my local geography. However, the further away I get from where I live, the worse my geographical knowledge becomes. I traced some of my relations to Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Much later on I traced some possible relations in Detroit, Mitchigan, USA. As far as I was concerned these were two unconnected places in two huge countries - however, once this information was plotted on Google Earth it became obvious that the probability of a connection was high since these two places are less than 1 mile apart from each other!
  • Sometimes it is a little difficult to get our extended family members quite as excited about their history as we are! Map My Ancestors can save KMZ files which you can email it to your relations or publish it on a web site. They won't need to install any Family Tree software to view it and maybe this will be the spark you need to ignite their interest!

What mapping coverage does Map My Ancestors provide?

  • The mapping coverage is supplied by the Yahoo map and Geocoding web services. Map coverage is currently missing for a small number of areas - Australia being the most significant. Resolving place names is still possible for Australia and you will still be able to view them in Google Earth - you just won't be able to view the map from within Map My Ancestors.

The Install fails during the .Net Phase

  • The Microsoft .Net installation seems to occasionally have trouble when installed as a sub-process of the Map My Ancestors installation, particularly on Windows Vista. In the cases where this has happened, running a separate install of Microsoft .Net prior to the Map My Ancestors install has resolved the problem. Check the downloads page for a link to the standalone .Net install and remember to run this as an admistrative user.

I can't see my data in Google Earth

  • Have you moved the timespan slider in Google Earth to cover the whole period you are interested in? The Google Earth time span slider seems to default to start and end at the earliest date recorded in the data you have included in your output. Click the right hand side of the slider and drag it fully to the right to see all your data.
  • Kind of obvious - but you have selected some individuals to include haven't you? Include individuals from the Selection Tab of Map My Ancestors.
  • Check that you haven't filtered out all the documented events. Use the Filtering Tab in the Options window to choose which event types to include.
  • Are you sure the selected individuals had geographical data associated with them?
  • Have you given the program enough time to find the locations involved. Check on the Places tab to ensure that Latitudes and Longitudes have been assigned to your locations.
  • Have you added a Network Link to Google Earth? You should see a folder called "Map My Ancestors" under the "Temporary Places" folder in the Places Panel on the Google Earth main screen (make sure your Google sidebar is visible by clicking View-Sidebar on the Google Earth menu). If you can't see this folder then click on the "Add a Network Link to Google Earth" button on the Map It! tab in Map My Ancestors.

Places show up in the wrong location

  • Does the place name specify a Country? If not, the default country will be used to try and find your place name. See the Options - General tab to change this setting.
  • If the place does specify a country, it is possible the country name has not been recognised. Some local spelling alternatives have been included for some countries but not all will be recognised.
  • Have you used commas to separate the parts of the place name? This will help to make the address less ambiguous.
  • Have you used abbreviations in your place name? Abbreviations may only make sense locally or maybe particular to English speaking countries so try to use the full text where it is known.
  • Does the place exist any more? Placenames may have changed over the years so try and find out what the modern day equivalent name is.
  • Have the Country, State or County boundaries changed since the information was recorded? If so, find out which Country, State or County your place is now in and use this in the search box instead.
  • Sometimes "Less is More"! Try removing some of the address - if your address has names of "sub-districts" of towns or cities, try removing that part of the address and try again. You'll find you need to employ different techniques for different countries - addresses in the United States often work better without a County, whereas addresses in the UK seem to have more success leaving out any city sub-districts.

I already saved Latitude and Longitude data in my family tree but it seems to have been forgotten

  • Some Family Tree programs allow you to store Latitude and Longitude information in your tree. Unfortunately there is no recognised standard way of exporting this to a GEDCOM file. The current GEDCOM standard (version 5.5) provides no specific guidance as to how this information should be stored. A draft standard 5.5.1 gives an idea of how it could be implemented but, since the standard was never ratified, no Family Tree programs have implemented this in their GEDCOM exports. Should any Family Tree software adopt the 5.5.1 draft standard, Map My Ancestors should be capable of extracting the geographical information from these files. In the meantime some Family Tree programs have used custom tags to export geographical information in the GEDCOM files. This is the case for both Legacy and Rootsmagic. Map My Ancestors currently supports the reading of location information from both of these programs.

How do I show a KMZ or KML file in a Google map on my web site?

  • First of all you need to publish your KMZ (we would recommend KMZ if you have a large tree) or KML file on your web site. Next you need to view it in Google Maps. Go to and enter the name of the URL of your KMZ or KML file in the Search field. If you wish to embed this in another web page then click the link that says "Link to this page" and then click "Customise and preview embedded map". This will then give you the HTML to paste into your web page.
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