Go to Google Maps, read How to Create a Map and watch the guided tour videos. I think that both your requests are already covered.A couple of suggestions for you to consider..
The Geocoding of the place names works well enough for some countries and areas and not at all for others. It would be useful to have a map facility that allows the user to put a pin in a location and have that stored for future reference. This woud allow for instance an exact placement of birthplaces (house number and street name etc) and/or placement when the Geocoder simply returns a wrong answer.
It would be great if the pop up text box on the Google map related to the person/event being mapped. eg "Fred Bloggs died here in..."
Click here to see Tim's website - this may not always appear to be working, probably because Tim sometimes sleeps or sits in one place for a long time, but you will get the idea. It is better if you zoom in to the maximum resolution. Set this up and your wife will always be able to see exactly where you are on the big screen in your living room! You will notice that it refreshes every 30 seconds!A fantastic addition would be markers with a date beside them to show someone's movements during their lifetime.