This weekend all of us at Ancestry have been busily meeting our members and family historians in general at the world’s largest family history fair, ‘Who do You Think You Are? Live’ at London’s Olympia Exhibition Centre. For an online business like ours an opportunity like this to meet our customers face to face is invaluable, and a vital part of getting your feedback and helping us to improve our service and our site.
I’m always extremely impressed by the enthusiasm we have for family history in the UK, the throng around the different stalls is amazing and seems to get bigger and better every year. One stall which seems especially under siege this year (apart from Ancestry.co.uk naturally!) is Cassini Historical Maps. I’m especially pleased about this as I’ve long believed that historic mapping is an area which has a huge amount to offer the family history researcher.
Old maps provide us a fantastic record of the context in which our ancestors existed – whether that’s the nature of the land and the transport links, or specific research clues like forgotten place names or abandoned workplaces. Perhaps most crucially they allow us to reconcile modern day and historic landscapes – a huge boon especially when researching unfamiliar parts of the country.
Essentially then historic maps should be a core and well-used resource for the family historian, though I’m not sure up to now they have had the profile and exposure they deserve. Cassini’s products particularly have been geo-coded and aligned with modern mapping which makes using them and seeing how the landscape has changed an absolute joy. That’s why I’m delighted we are able to use the show this year to announce the beginning of an exclusive partnership with the guys at Cassini, which will see a number of exciting developments over the coming months and years.
Initially a range of Cassini historic mapping products will be made available in the Ancestry shop but we are also working together to develop much more integrated products which will allow Ancestry members to use historic mapping in much the same way as we all use vital records or censuses at the moment.
Has the time of historic mapping as a mainstream research resource finally arrived? Now Ancestry and Cassini are working together, I think it just might…
THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY DAN JONES.
Kelly Godfrey is Senior Manager, Digital Marketing for Ancestry.co.uk. Based in Ancestry's London office in Hammersmith, Kelly regularly tweets and posts on Ancestry's Facebook page as well as here on the blog.