06 March 2016

James F S Thomson on Maps and Mapping for 21st Century Genealogists

On Saturday 50 Ottawa genealogists enjoyed BIFHSGO's full day workshop with Toronto genealogist and consummate professional instructor James Thomson learning about maps and mapping. This was a compressed version of three sold-out runs of a four-session course given in Toronto.
Held in a computer lab at Algonquin College James came prepared with a 16 page handout, a dedicated web page with links needed to expedite learning, all signs of careful preparation. I don't want to give away too much of the material for which course members paid, Certainly it lived up to the billing of enabling participants to create unique maps and plans, tailored to the needs of the compiler and incorporating data derived from different sources. Resources and examples used were drawn from different jurisdictions with an emphasis on the British Isles although the principles and techniques described were largely independent of geography.
There were several hands-on experiences teaching annotating and personalising maps to address one's own family history using Microsoft and Google resources as well as major sources for online maps.
Along the way many of us picked up useful hints for these resources more generally applicable than for maps.
On a personal note, I was pleased to learn that part of the inspiration for the OGS Toronto map of Toronto Cemeteries was my own map of London Cemeteries.
I have no hesitation in recommending this workshop to other family history societies which might want to host it.

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