Exploring geo-genealogy using internet surname search histories

Yifan Zhang, Muhammad Adnan, Paul Longley, Ross Maciejewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We present an interactive flow map to visualize aspects of the ways in which surnames have dispersed and migrated around the globe. This work utilizes Internet search queries from the Worldnames Project and uses the density of search locations to determine the node and leaf structures of a flow map. The mapping technique utilized in this work is a variant of geometric minimal Steiner arborescences called the spiral tree. Our implementation is developed in JavaScript to allow for interactive online exploration. Nodes and flow lines can be interactively modified to allow for esthetic changes of color and layout. The results can provide interesting insight into the geography of amateur genealogy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-486
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Maps
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • flow map
  • genealogy
  • surname

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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