Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Using Google Streetview to see where your ancestors lived

One of my favourite uses of technology is to use Google Street View to look at the houses where my ancestors lived. I use the census data to give me a street address, and then Google to find the house. My grandfather Cyril lived in Muriel Road in Leicester in 1911 - he was 5 years old at the time. Here is what his section of Muriel Road looks like today - quite similar I would think, except for the cars, satellite dishes, and wheelie bins!

To find a location go to Google Maps and type in the address you want in the search box. When the map appears, click on the yellow man (follow the blue arrow below), and hold the mouse button down while you drag the yellow man to the marker on the map that shows where your address is.

Drop the man on top of the marker and the street view will appear. You can then use your mouse to view the street in 360 degrees, and you can move up and down the street.

In England, the street view coverage is excellent - you can go all over the county. However you will not find coverage of parks, waterways, etc - it really is a view of streets. There's something quite amazing about being able to see where your ancestors lived - many of the old buildings still stand in the villages as they did hundreds of years ago. Have fun!

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