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  • Ann D. Watson

William's Conway: A Story Map

Abstract map of Conway, Mass. with drawings of buildings added

"William's Conway, c. 1890"

Ann D. Watson 2017

Watercolor crayon and pencil on paper

5 3/8 x 10 3/8 inches

Buildings L to R: Burkeville covered bridge, Watson homestead, Burkeville woolen mill, Methodist Church, Town Hall.

This week I decided to try making a map that would show my ancestor's domain while being more abstract than "normal" maps. For the general outline I located Conway, Massachusetts on Google Earth and printed out a section which included William Watson's neighborhood and the places he frequented. I made a small drawing of each building I wanted to include in the map and after lightly coloring them, arranged the drawings and glued them down. Using Caran d'Ache Neocolor II watercolor crayons I then colored the entire map, making sure I clearly defined the roads and, more importantly, the South River, so important to William's life as a mill worker and to the entire village, as it winds through town.

This type of map could show your ancestors' travels, home town, migration patterns, places they lived, and more. Making maps is so much fun for me, and this could be a piece to frame and hang on your wall.

Thanks go to Cammie Watson for inspiring me with her series of paintings, "Truro From Above"; and also for technical help. Thanks also to Jill K. Berry's Personal Geographies: Explorations in Mixed-Media Mapmaking (Cincinnati, Ohio: Northlight Books, 2011) for further inspiration.

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