Thursday, February 02, 2006

Maps of St. Louis City churches

Trying to find baptism, marriage and burial records in a city like St. Louis without knowing which church created the record is not easy to do. (I can't imagine attempting the same in an even larger city.) Thankfully, the Special Collections Department at the St. Louis County Library Headquarters has created guides to using Catholic, Lutheran and Evangelical records on microfilm. The guides show where the churches are/were located and how the records are arranged on film.

As someone not as familiar with St. Louis streets and neighborhoods as I should be, I'm often going back and forth between these guides and Google Maps trying to figure out which churches my ancestors likely attended. This was not a very efficient process, so I decided to make my own Google Maps.

Due to the number of churches that were or are in the city limits alone, I've made a map for each religion and subdivided the Catholic Churches further into those north and south of Highway 40/64. Each map is pre-populated with the locations of these churches and lists their addresses. If you're not familiar with Google Maps, you can zoom in and out, as well as scroll in any direction by holding down your left mouse button and dragging the mouse.

I plan to use the heck out of these maps to hopefully find the few records I'm still missing, as well as when I get around to tracking down other lines of descendants. If anyone else finds the maps useful, even better!

St. Louis City Churches

A bit of a disclaimer...I am not proficient with JavaScript, so I had to find the script to make each map. I would have done it myself, and even added more features, but JavaScript is something I just never picked up on along the way. I know that the maps work with Internet Explorer 6 and Firefox 1.0.7. However, from the time I began making these maps until now getting them online, I've had to reinstall Windows XP and upgraded to Firefox 1.5. Oddly, the script is not compatible with FF 1.5, so I had to track down another script, which, of course, doesn't work with the other browsers. That's why there are two versions of each map, or at least will be once I finish the versions for FF 1.5.

Accuracy of the maps is only as good as what Google shows. I have noticed that some of the icons are a little off from where I wanted them to be, but I believe this is a minor inconvenience in the context of trying to find churches in a neighborhood. And there are a handful of churches not currently mapped. I need to look up a few addresses at the library.


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