Friday, May 29, 2009

First Look at - Post 3

I posted about my first look at the new web site,, in Post 1 and Post 2 of this series. I also posted a link to the WorldHistory short demo videos. I believe that this web site is still under development, so some of the features don't work well or even at all.

This post continues where Post 2 left off. After the failure of the "Add Father" effort, I was back to the "Your Ancestors" page. Since I had added a Biography, I wanted to see if my grandfather's biography showed up in the Search engine. I entered "seaver" in the Search field as shown below:

The Search results showed only one Seaver surname person (even though I have about 100 in my database) - and it's my grandfather:

So I learned that the searchable persons have to have a Biography loaded into the web site. Just being in a database doesn't get you into the Search engine results. The "Your Ancestors" page says:

" If no actual BIO is written about them within a week, their biography page will be removed."

Over the last month or so, I've been clicking on the "Show me the MAP" button on the "Your Ancestors" page and then on the Map page clicking on the "Yes, I would like to Geocode my ancestors" link. The program has geocoded only 715 of my 20,755 persons in my database so far. Every time I click on the link, I get a few more. Here's the screen view when I clicked on it yesterday:

It "automatically" selected the year 1545 and showed me the geocoded persons in my database that lived around that year. It found only 10 persons, and all were geocoded in England and North America as shown above. When I clicked on one of the stick pins in North America, the person and place name appeared in a "balloon."

You can change the Year by clicking on a spot on the Timeline above the map. I clicked around 1710 and got 1707, and the site showed me the set of geocoded persons from my database that were living around that time:

Since they are all in north America, I used the Zoom feature and the "magic hand" to manipulate the map to show Eastern North America, still in 1707:

I clicked on another stick-pin out near Iowa and found that it was for "Marcy Hill (1643), Birth Dorchester, Suffolk, MA baptism." Iowa is a long way from Dorchester. My guess is that the word "baptism" threw off the map function somehow.

On the list of persons in the 1707 list (on the right side of the map), I clicked on Samuel Bigelow and the map changed to show this screen:

On the right of the map, it showed Samuel Bigelow's birth year and place, death year and place, and listed his spouse. On the map, the stick-pin shows his birth and death (essentially the same location in Massachusetts. Notice that there are different color stickpins for Birth, Death, Marriage and Event.

Tonight, I decided to Geocode some more of my ancestors in my database, so I clicked on the "Yes, I would like to geocode my ancestors" link. It did 9 more in about 60 seconds - pretty slow. I shudder to think how long it will take to do the remaining 20,031 of them. I clicked on a year near 1670 and got the list for 1666:

Same problem with the geocoding - the "balloon" for the stick-pin out near Detroit says "Eddy, Abigail (1601), Birth Cranbrook, Kent, England christening." The "christening" may be confusing the web site. Or it's just doing something random. I think it's confused by my "cryptic notes" in some of the location fields. At least, I hope so!

Well, I think that's enough work in this web site for the time being. I've sort of figured out what it can do, and how to navigate and use the site. However, it is not densely populated with events or persons with biographies, and it seems to be fairly slow to geocode persons in my database. My guess is that the site is "not quite ready for prime time" yet.


Bill West said...

Interesting series, Randy. I might
use that site after I get my gedcom file cleaned up a bit.

BTW I'm making a timeline in Roots
Magic for Jeremiah Swain after reading your "how to" post

Delia Furrer said...

It's an interesting website. For me, probably a little time consuming but definitely something I could get some benefit and enjoyment from.
FYI, I do look at your screen shots and read alot of what you write about so please continue with what you are doing! You write about so many different topics which is great!