The first map I wanted to make was one showing where my (known) direct ancestors lived, and thus the states that I research the most. And here is a screenshot:
States marked in dark blue are where my known direct ancestors lived, either briefly or for generations. States in medium blue (CT, TN, NC) are ones that brick wall ancestors of mine said their parents were from in the 1880 census, but I do not conclusively know how accurate that information is at present.
The next map I did was the same as above except that I included states (in yellow) where collateral lines went that I also research (this doesn't include states where recent collateral lines, like my parents' and grandparents' siblings, live or lived). Screenshot:
Next, I started making them for specific states starting with California:
In Sea Green are counties where ancestors of mine were known to have lived, either briefly or for generations. Next I did another map including collateral lines (in yellow):
My ultimate goal is to one day have an heirloom quality genealogy atlas in book form but this (and Google Maps) are good practice. I especially like the maps above because, even though they aren't very detailed, they are color coded and I think easier for a non-family history buff to use and appreciate. I know RootsMagic produces a program similar (and I think better) than a lot of the free mapping options out there like GoogleMaps. In case you're wondering, the program is called Family Atlas and yes, it is at the top of my wishlist.
Disclosure: I am in no way affiliated with RootsMagic nor did I receive any remuneration or was prompted to write this post by any outside party. I use RootsMagic Essentials, the free and striped down version of RootsMagic and plan to one day upgrade.