JewishGen education

Map It - Using Historical Maps for Family Research

Have you wondered just where in Eastern Europe your ancestors were from, in a geographic sense? Have border changes confused you, making it hard to know what country it was where your town was located, and during what time period?

Skills you will Learn

This course is designed to help with these questions and more. We will plot the towns of your ancestors on a pre-WWI, small scale historical map and then go to maps of larger scale and look at what kinds of features surrounded the towns or villages of your ancestors to get a better grasp of the environment and general vicinity of their places of birth and residence.


The course will offer electronic handouts and videos to help familiarize students with some basic principles of geography, help searching on the website, and guides to cartographic symbols used on historical maps. We will use the gazetteer to find locations (towns) on current maps, then shift to historical maps. We will also use Google translate, and an online typewriter to write words and names in various languages and hear how the town names are pronounced, and in some cases what some words mean.


This course is best taken using a desktop computer, although laptops will work. Using two screens is very helpful and smaller devices like tablets or ipads can be problematic.

Study hours per week will vary, but two to three hours is suggested. There are assignments to complete (not graded) which are part of this time committment.

Visiting a local printer such as FedEx Office is recommended to print one or two maps as reference pieces for your research.

Weekly Zoom Meetings

Sundays, March 3, and 10 and 17, at 9 am Pacific Time/12 pm Eastern Time

Three Interactive Lectures via Zoom


The enrollment cost is $75.

Contact Information

For any questions, email the instructor at

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