Genealogica Grafica: maps of birthplaces

21 nov 2010
Covered in this document: Relevant links:


There are many suppliers of (geographic) maps on the internet. And two of them (Google and Yahoo!) offer programmatic access. Genealogica Grafica uses such an automatic connection to allow you to display maps integrated with your genealogical charts. You can view maps on your computer and also offer them for visitors of your web site.

The maps have the regular functions for locating, zooming and map/satellite integration. On them Genealogica Grafica will project the locations where people in your charts were born. The marks will be color-coded to indicate the generation of the persons. No personal data will be displayed in the information windows.

How to use

There are two uses of the maps:

  • As a tool to verify place names

  • As an automatic addendum to a chart

To check out place names, go to menu View and select Map / Birth places. Here too, you need internet connection for it to work. The display shows a list of all (birth or baptism) places in the gedcom that could not be matched against the internal database of known place names.


For a link on a chart, check the appropriate check box in menu Layout - Tableau layout - left-most tab. When you produce the HTML files for your tableau, the files for the map will be produced on the fly. You can check the map in the HTML view window by clicking on the link in the chart page. Note: you must have connection to the internet in order for the map to show up! For web publishing see here. Depending on your settings, your browser may complain. This will not happen when the files are uploaded to your web site. Map options can be specified in menu Layout - Map layout.

If the tableau contains birth places that could not be identified, a message to that effect will be shown in the messages window. Click on it to get an overview. The list will be restricted to places relevant for the tableau.

Correcting place names

Nb: Place names resolved by you will be saved in your parameters file.

First of all it is important to establish the default country. That is the country for which your gedcom does not list its name in addresses. For instance a gedcom produced by a Dutchman will say "born at Amsterdam", whereas one produced by an American will say "born at Amsterdam, The Netherlands". Genealogica Grafica tries to infer the default country from the place names without country information. But you can specify it yourself more reliably: goto menu Layout - Date/place formats - place name considerations and select from a list (some countries appear under several names).

The display of unresolved place names (menu View - Map or via messages window) opens two windows: one with the list of places to consider and one with a map (initially blank).

The list will contain two types of entry: ambiguous and unknown.

Ambiguous:  we find more than one place with this name in the database and can not decide which one to use. (It may well be that the gedcom address contains the information, like a state or burrough, but our database does not). When you click the ambiguous link, the map will show all the places of that name with a label. Select the letter in the label list and click OK. If you have checked the All checkbox, this choice will be applied to all persons with this place name information. The list will be regenerated. For some countries web search may be of help in narrowing the choice down to one place.

Unknown:  we can not match this place. In most cases this is because you have added information that Genealogica Grafica can not interpret. (See here for measures and the use of a filter.) You now need to supply the lattitude and longitude information yourself, which can be done in two ways:

  1. Select the country and then the place in the lists. The map will show where it is with a label (or a few labels if there are more choices). Select the label letter as above and proceed with OK.

  2. Click on the map where you think the place should be. A marker will be put there (pick it up or click again to move it elswhere) and its coordinates are shown under the map. Genealogica Grafica can not copy these coordinates automatically, so you will have to type them in the LAT and LONG boxes. (Note that these are the real lattitude and longitude times 100 !). Then click OK.

When you use the Skip button, you indicate that the place should not be put on a map (for instance when it is in a far-off country with little relevance to your family).

With the Undo button you get a list of all individual that you have skipped or given an explicit position by the process above. You can remove them from the list by pressing the undo link.



When you add information to a birth place, such as "Leeds, Church of St Mary" or "Ronne, Vester Herred, Bornholm amt", Genealogica Grafica may get confused and list the place as unknown. If you have a choice, use parenthesis for a better automatic resolution. "Leeds (church of St Mary)" will probably be matched automatically.

 Your foreign addresses specify the country in your local spelling. Eg a French gedcom will say "Bern, la Suisse" whereas a German one will say "Bern, Der Schweiz". In order to match these names, Genealogica Grafica must know the spelling of these country names in various languages. Check the list in Options - User preferences to see if your spellings are included. If not, please supply a list of the form "full name = code" and we will add it. The codes are on this site.

There are many cases where a gedcom contains place names which can all be translated in a similar way to obtain a matchable name. This is best explained by an example.
Allinge, Arnager, Nylars, and many other villages are situated on Bornholm. In the gedcom they appear as:

You discover that the database will correctly identify these places by their stripped name, without "sogn, xxx herred, Bornholms amt". You can then use a filter to treat them all in one go. The filter will be

"%place, sogn %area herred, Bornholms amt = %place"

This will be applied to all places in the gedcom. If one matches the left side, it will be replaced by the right side. Words that start with a % can take any value; all other words and characters must match (apart from case and double spaces). A word with a % on the right hand side will be replaced by the actual string on the left hand side.
Hence in this example, any place with the format "XXX, sogn YYY Herred, Bornholms amt" will be replace by "XXX". This extracted place is now matched against the database and if uniquely identified it will be stored.

Nb: if filtering a name results in an ambiguous place (so can not be identified uniquely), nothing will happen. The place will stay in the list for manual treatment.


Web search

When your gedcom place names are followed by state or province information, Genealogica Grafica will drop these in the matching process since our place names database does not contain this information. As a result different places may be marked on the map and the entry will be marked as ambiguous.

The viewer window will activate a web search link label that may work great in some cases. It will perform an automatic search of the place, including the extra information about province, state, etc. on a geo-information web site. The response from this site may pin the place down to just a single one. In that case you will only have to press OK to accept it.

This web search works impressively for countries with well-structured addressing, such as France. In other countries there may not be any positive response. You will then have to use a filter or rely on manual selection.

Extra countries

The standard installation comes with Dutch places. If you want to add other countries, click the Download more countries link label on the view window. It will bring you to our web site and you can select bundled country files. Choose "Install". Downloading and installation can be done while you work in Genealogica Grafica. The new information will be intergrated and presented within seconds.


If you have many places in a country not listed on the web site, you may want to install additional country information. That can be done fairly automatically. Goto this site (register - Products&Services - GEO nameserver) and pick up the ZIP file of your choice. Unzip it and you will get a file with a name like "CC.txt". Place this file in Genealogica Grafica’s subdirectory "Geography" (find the program directory under C:/Program Files/GenealogicaGrafica) and start Genealogica Grafica. It will extract the place names and coordinates and make them accessible to you.

Web publishing

We use two sources for map display: Google and Yahoo!
Yahoo! Is the default, but its maps are not as advanced as Google’s. If you want to show Google maps to your visitors you must obtain a (free) key from Google. Go here to obtain one and copy/paste into the edit box in Options - User preferences. (When this edit box is cleared, maps will be Yahoo! maps.)
The Google MAP API key is specific for a domain. If you publish in more than one domain, you have a problem.

All the files needed for a web page are in the sub-directory for the tableau you’ve made. The files for the map are called "Ggmap.htm" and "circle*.PNG".

 The marker-detail on your map depends on the number of markers:

  • When there are few, markers are split out to different generations of persons in the same place; the info-windows will show up when moving the cursor over a marker.

  • When there are many, different generations in the same place will be combined and the info-windows will show only when clicking a marker.