My attention was drawn to a marvellously elegant utility by Sheri Fenley on her blog The Educated Genealogist at (thanks Sheri 🙂 ).

As Sheri explains, you enter the place names you want in a spreadsheet in Google Drive and the utility uses those names to mark the places on a Google map.  I had a try with the birthplaces of the children of John Way (1835 – 1911) and Sarah Way née Daw (1837 – 1895), my husband’s great great grandparents.  

It was very quick to enter the data and generate a map. I used a separate column to enter the Australian state to ensure correct disambiguation of the place names.

Google map terrain view modified using to show the birth places of John and Sarah Way’s children

John and Sarah married on 2 March 1854 and left England four days later arriving in South Australia on 28 June 1854 aboard the Trafalgar

They had the following children:

  • Louisa (1855 – 1926) born Adelaide; John’s occupation  on Louisa’s birth registration was labourer.
  • William John (1857 – 1858) born and died Collingwood, Melbourne; John’s occupation was labourer. William’s cause of death at age 6 months was congestion of the brain.
  • Mary Jane (1859 – 1859) born and died Collingwood; John’s occupation was labourer. Mary Jane died of cancer of the eye aged 4 months 19 days.
  • Mary Ann (1860 – 1938) born Collingwood
  • Sarah Jane (1863 – 1898) born Barborah Creek near Binalong, New South Wales (no birth registration found)
  • Eliza (Elizabeth on her birth certificate) (1865 – 1940) born Brittons Dam Station, Kitticara, nr Murrumburrah, New South Wales;John’s occupation was shepherd. 
  • Emily (1868 – 1952) born Grenfell, New South Wales; John’s occupation was sawyer
  • Harriet Elizabeth (1870 – 1879) born near Reece’s Foundry, Grenfell, New South Wales; John’s occupation was sawyer on her birth registration but when she died of typhoid fever at three months, John gave his occupation as miner.
  • John (1872 – 1896) born Grenfell, New South Wales
  • Martha (1874 – 1875) born and died Parkes, New South Wales; John’s occupation was miner.

John and Sarah both died at Parkes.

The birthplaces of their children show their migration around the country. It was an enormous move from Collingwood, Melbourne to Barborah Creek near Binalong.  I am not sure how they found a job there or how they travelled.

John identified as a miner for the rest of his life – the marriage and death certificates of his children consistently give miner as their father’s occupation. He also gave it as his occupation when he wrote his will.