Problem faced by users:

It can often be difficult to get started exploring family history.

Most existing services require you to create an account, know about genealogy, or understand common genealogical facts/terms.

Existing Solutions:

Many current tools for researching and sharing family history exist, but none use a simple, engaging map animation to tell the story like Map My Story does.

Solution App Provides:

Map My Story makes it fun, easy, and interesting to understand the various places of your or your family's migration story, and to see them instantly on a map.

Many people are interested in exploring their family history, especially where their parents, grandparents, or great grandparents lived in the world.

Particularly in the United States, our rich and diverse history as a nation of immigrants makes it exciting to explore how many different stories combine together into a single narrative.

How the app provides it:

Our web app transforms the name of the town that your grandmother raised your mother in, for example, from just a name to a visual spot on the globe--connecting their story to yours.

MapMyStory allows users to create their own story, share it with others, and see it in context among other users' stories.

We use a fast and intuitive geocoder, which instantly maps out each geographic location the user enters.

The main page prompts the user to enter location points such as where you live, where they grew up, where their parents grew up, where their grandparents are from, and so on.

The user can then add notes about each place to their story map. Once a user submits their entry, these points are then connected together by an animation that draws a continuous line between each geographic point. The user's story is then shareable!


Map My Story is a project started in October at Chi Hack Night, a group of citizens in Chicago who gather to collaborate on civic-minded tech projects. It uses open source tools and follows the open source ethos.

A beta version was developed for an art exhibition curated by Project Prospera as part of their Crafting Cultures series, which featured art by a variety of migrants.

Map My Story was used to bring these stories together, and to combine the rich, diverse family histories with intuitive and easy to understand visualizations of their family stories.


When you first visit the Map My Story web app, you will see a randomly chosen story map from existing submissions.

You can click, zoom in on, and interact with this story map, see another story map, or submit your own.

When you choose to submit your own story, our geocoder input box will slide out, allowing you to enter in the geographic points of your family's migration story.

Simply type into the geocoder and you will see suggested place names pop up.

Once you see the location you are looking for, select it and a point will appear on the map at that place.

You can then confirm this point or undo it if you made a mistake.

You can also add a note to associate with this point.

Once confirmed, you can add another point.

Once you've added at least two points, you have the option to finish your submission, but we recommend adding as many points as you can.

Once you've added all your points, you can optionally add additional notes to sum up your entire story. Once you're done and confirm, you'll see the points connect together!

Map My Story is flexible. For example, users can choose to enter just their individual migration story versus their family's history.

Were considering many new features on our roadmap! Follow us on Github and feel free to submit an issue with feedback and feature requests.

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