Barbara Ball,CG ®
For over 15 years I worked mapping and analyzing endangered species habitat in California and Arizona. Why did the animals and plants live where they did? What made the conditions just right for them to survive and flourish where they did? Why did they live only in these selected places and not spread out further on the landscape? These kinds of questions can be applied to human as well as non-human populations.
In about 2006, when I segued from Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to Genealogy, I continued to be fascinated by the aspects of place. What can we learn about our ancestors by reconstructing the spatial aspects of their lives? Who lived nearby? Why did they farm where they did? Why did they move from place to place quite frequently, or stay in one spot for generations?
While we will never know all the answers to these questions, some clues can be found by mapping the physical environment where our ancestors lived. It is this idea of combining geography and genealogy that I strive for. Below is a brief summary of my education and experience, both with genealogy and GIS analysis.