Using surname mapping to find your ancestors

Sometimes when you have exhausted every avenue you are left wondering where to look next. When I first started doing my family history I had a notion like most others that families didn’t move much in the 18th and 19th centuries. However, that is not the case and many move much further than you can imagine.
This is where surname mapping might be a help to pin point areas where families with the surname you are researching may have moved to or even come from of course. You can do this using many different records like the census and land tax records but a good place to start is the 1837-1851 death registration indexes which you can access for free at . Deaths rather than births are used as they are more likely to have been in that area longer.
Go to FreeBMD, put in the date range and tick the deaths box and then you can either choose where you want to search be it a county/counties/country. You will then get your results and it is just a case of making a tally chart to record that information.
Once you have that information you can either use a program like GenMapUK or find a map with registration districts on it and start colouring. Work out a scale for your colours so you can see a difference between the districts and then sit back and admire your work!

Completed with GenMapUK

Using a blank map found online.

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