Difference between revisions of "United States Maps"

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Maps can be used to locate the places where your ancestors lived. They identify political boundaries, names of places, geographical features, cemeteries, churches, and migration routes. Historical maps are especially useful for finding communities and political boundaries that no longer exist.  
 
Maps can be used to locate the places where your ancestors lived. They identify political boundaries, names of places, geographical features, cemeteries, churches, and migration routes. Historical maps are especially useful for finding communities and political boundaries that no longer exist.  
  
== Genealogical information in various types of maps ==
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==Genealogical information in various types of maps==
  
To select the right kind of map to solve a genealogical problem, it is helpful to know what kinds of information each type of map displays.<ref>Most of the information from this section is taken from ''More than One Kind of Map'', by George G Morgan, Orem, Utah: Ancestry.com, 08 September 2000 [http://learn.ancestry.com/LearnMore/Article.aspx?id=2299 http://learn.ancestry.com/LearnMore/Article.aspx?id=2299]</ref>  
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To select the right kind of map to solve a genealogical problem, it is helpful to know what kinds of information each type of map displays.<ref>Most of the information from this section is taken from ''More than One Kind of Map'', by George G Morgan, Orem, Utah: Ancestry.com, 08 September 2000 http://learn.ancestry.com/LearnMore/Article.aspx?id=2299</ref>  
  
*'''Atlases''' are bound collections of maps. '''Historical atlases '''are especially useful because they tend to plot&nbsp;historic towns and landmarks more accurately than old maps do in relation to jurisdictional boundaries and geographic features.  
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*'''Atlases''' are bound collections of maps. '''Historical atlases '''are especially useful because they tend to plot&nbsp;historic towns and landmarks more accurately than old maps do in relation to jurisdictional boundaries and geographic features.
*'''Boundary change maps '''show shifts in borders of townships, counties, states and territories over time.  
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*'''Boundary change maps '''show shifts in borders of townships, counties, states and territories over time.
*'''Census maps'''. Spelling errors by census takers often make ancestors hard to find. If you know your ancestor's address (or general area of residence in rural areas), census maps showing enumeration district boundaries can indicate where in the census rolls to search for the ancestor.&nbsp;  
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*'''Census maps'''. Spelling errors by census takers often make ancestors hard to find. If you know your ancestor's address (or general area of residence in rural areas), census maps showing enumeration district boundaries can indicate where in the census rolls to search for the ancestor.&nbsp;
*'''Chamber of commerce maps''', which can usually be obtained for free from&nbsp;city&nbsp;and town chambers of commerce,&nbsp;show streets,&nbsp;government offices, courthouses, libraries, businesses, museum archives, and important landmarks.&nbsp;  
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*'''Chamber of commerce maps''', which can usually be obtained for free from&nbsp;city&nbsp;and town chambers of commerce,&nbsp;show streets,&nbsp;government offices, courthouses, libraries, businesses, museum archives, and important landmarks.&nbsp;
*'''City and town&nbsp;maps''' show detailed street information, addresses, rail and mass transit routes, and landmarks.  
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*'''City and town&nbsp;maps''' show detailed street information, addresses, rail and mass transit routes, and landmarks.
*'''City and town locator maps''' plot a town&nbsp;and often give its coordinates so that it can be plotted&nbsp;in an historical atlas or map to determine the county, parish, or state in which it resided during a&nbsp;given year.&nbsp;  
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*'''City and town locator maps''' plot a town&nbsp;and often give its coordinates so that it can be plotted&nbsp;in an historical atlas or map to determine the county, parish, or state in which it resided during a&nbsp;given year.&nbsp;
*'''City plans''' often demystify the renaming of streets, parks, neighborhoods, and other features.  
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*'''City plans''' often demystify the renaming of streets, parks, neighborhoods, and other features.
*'''County, Parish, or Province maps '''show roads, cemeteries, landmarks, local boundaries, and physical features.  
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*'''County, Parish, or Province maps '''show roads, cemeteries, landmarks, local boundaries, and physical features.
*'''Fire&nbsp;insurance maps (Sanborn maps)'''&nbsp;of 12,000 cities and towns yield street names and specific properties and addresses starting in 1867. Using these with city directories can help locate urban ancestors in a given year.  
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*'''Fire&nbsp;insurance maps (Sanborn maps)'''&nbsp;of 12,000 cities and towns yield street names and specific properties and addresses starting in 1867. Using these with city directories can help locate urban ancestors in a given year.
*'''Land ownership (cadastral) maps and plat books''' show boundaries of land plots, and usually the owners' names.  
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*'''Land ownership (cadastral) maps and plat books''' show boundaries of land plots, and usually the owners' names.
*'''Military maps''' show extreme detail regarding geographical features, terrain, landmarks, natural resources, place names, and landmarks.&nbsp;  
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*'''Military maps''' show extreme detail regarding geographical features, terrain, landmarks, natural resources, place names, and landmarks.&nbsp;
*'''Railroad maps''' indicate preferred routes of travel during an era where the routes changed from one year to the next. These also aid in tracking&nbsp;the possible whereabouts of railroad&nbsp;employees since&nbsp;many railroads merged or changed names.&nbsp;  
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*'''Railroad maps''' indicate preferred routes of travel during an era where the routes changed from one year to the next. These also aid in tracking&nbsp;the possible whereabouts of railroad&nbsp;employees since&nbsp;many railroads merged or changed names.&nbsp;
 
*'''Topographic or geologic maps''' show&nbsp;terrain, natural resources (forests, mining resources), and features that affected travel (rivers, rapids, canals,&nbsp;mountains, mountain passes,&nbsp;canyons).
 
*'''Topographic or geologic maps''' show&nbsp;terrain, natural resources (forests, mining resources), and features that affected travel (rivers, rapids, canals,&nbsp;mountains, mountain passes,&nbsp;canyons).
  
== Where to get various types of maps ==
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==Where to get various types of maps==
  
=== Atlases (and broad collections) ===
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===Atlases (and broad collections)===
  
 
An atlas is a bound collection of maps. Historical atlases cover boundary changes,&nbsp;migration routes, settlement patterns, military campaigns, American Indian reservations, and the development of towns. Historical atlases are especially useful because they tend to plot historic towns and landmarks more accurately than old maps do in relation to jurisdictional boundaries and geographic features. Many county atlases&nbsp;show the names of landowners and are usually based on county plat maps (see [[United States Land and Property|Land and Property]]).&nbsp;  
 
An atlas is a bound collection of maps. Historical atlases cover boundary changes,&nbsp;migration routes, settlement patterns, military campaigns, American Indian reservations, and the development of towns. Historical atlases are especially useful because they tend to plot historic towns and landmarks more accurately than old maps do in relation to jurisdictional boundaries and geographic features. Many county atlases&nbsp;show the names of landowners and are usually based on county plat maps (see [[United States Land and Property|Land and Property]]).&nbsp;  
  
*The [http://www.davidrumsey.com/directory/where/united%20states David Rumsey Map Collection] (free) contains an extensive online collection of historical atlases, maps, and other antique cartographic material. Downloads available.  
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*The [http://www.davidrumsey.com/directory/where/united%20states David Rumsey Map Collection] (free) contains an extensive online collection of historical atlases, maps, and other antique cartographic material. Downloads available.
*[http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gmdhtml/armhtml/armhome.html The Library of Congress American Memory Collection]&nbsp;(free) includes cities and towns, conservation and environment, cultural landscapes, discovery and exploration, general maps, military battles and campaigns, and transportation and communication.&nbsp;  
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*[http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gmdhtml/armhtml/armhome.html The Library of Congress American Memory Collection]&nbsp;(free) includes cities and towns, conservation and environment, cultural landscapes, discovery and exploration, general maps, military battles and campaigns, and transportation and communication.&nbsp;
 
*The [http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/united_states.html University of Texas&nbsp;Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection] (free)&nbsp;has online state maps and atlases.
 
*The [http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/united_states.html University of Texas&nbsp;Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection] (free)&nbsp;has online state maps and atlases.
 
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*The [http://maps.bpl.org/ Norman B Leventhal Map Center] at the Boston Public Library&nbsp;(free) is in the process of digitizing a significant portion of its&nbsp;200,000 historic maps and 5,000 atlases. The collection's scope is the World, Europe, and America, with particular attention to New England, Massachusetts, and Boston from the 15th century to the present day.  
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*The [http://maps.bpl.org/ Norman B Leventhal Map Center] at the Boston Public Library&nbsp;(free) is in the process of digitizing a significant portion of its&nbsp;200,000 historic maps and 5,000 atlases. The collection's scope is the World, Europe, and America, with particular attention to New England, Massachusetts, and Boston from the 15th century to the present day.
*[http://ancestortracks.com Ancestor Tracks] (free) has posted 19th-century Pennsylvania landowner maps and atlases covering about 80% of the land-mass of Pennsylvania. &nbsp;They can be used with the 1850-1880 censuses and published county histories.  
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*[http://ancestortracks.com Ancestor Tracks] (free) has posted 19th-century Pennsylvania landowner maps and atlases covering about 80% of the land-mass of Pennsylvania. &nbsp;They can be used with the 1850-1880 censuses and published county histories.
*[http://www.historicmapworks.com HistoricMapWorks.com] ($) offers over 800,000 online historic maps from the 18th and early 19th centuries at $0.99 per download. Searchable by place name, family name, or street address.  
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*[http://www.historicmapworks.com HistoricMapWorks.com] ($) offers over 800,000 online historic maps from the 18th and early 19th centuries at $0.99 per download. Searchable by place name, family name, or street address.
*[https://www.lva.virginia.gov/exhibits/voorhees/ The Alan M. Voorhees Collection] ($) at the Library of Virginia has maps, charts and atlases. The images online are thumbnails rather than usable copies, but larger prints can be ordered for a fee.  
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*[https://www.lva.virginia.gov/exhibits/voorhees/ The Alan M. Voorhees Collection] ($) at the Library of Virginia has maps, charts and atlases. The images online are thumbnails rather than usable copies, but larger prints can be ordered for a fee.
*Some important atlases <span id="fck_dom_range_temp_1248099227250_249" />in book form are ''Atlas of American History''<ref>''Atlas of American History'', Second Edition, revised. New York, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1984. (FHL Ref 973 E7at; 1943 edition on film 1415259 item 9.), </ref>, ''The American Heritage Pictorial Atlas of United States History''<ref>''The American Heritage Pictorial Atlas of United States History''. New York, New York: American Heritage Publishing, 1966. (FHL book 973 E7ah.) </ref>, and ''The Shaping of America''<ref>Meinig, D. W. ''The Shaping of America: A Geographical Perspective on 500 Years of History''. Two Volumes. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1986. (FHL book 973 E3me; fiche 6125626-27.)</ref>  
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*Some important atlases <span id="fck_dom_range_temp_1248099227250_249" />in book form are ''Atlas of American History''<ref>''Atlas of American History'', Second Edition, revised. New York, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1984. (FHL Ref 973 E7at; 1943 edition on film 1415259 item 9.), </ref>, ''The American Heritage Pictorial Atlas of United States History''<ref>''The American Heritage Pictorial Atlas of United States History''. New York, New York: American Heritage Publishing, 1966. (FHL book 973 E7ah.) </ref>, and ''The Shaping of America''<ref>Meinig, D. W. ''The Shaping of America: A Geographical Perspective on 500 Years of History''. Two Volumes. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1986. (FHL book 973 E3me; fiche 6125626-27.)</ref>
 
*Brick-and-mortar sources for atlases include&nbsp;historical and genealogical societies, public libraries,&nbsp;and university libraries.
 
*Brick-and-mortar sources for atlases include&nbsp;historical and genealogical societies, public libraries,&nbsp;and university libraries.
  
=== State Maps ===
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===State Maps===
  
*[https://nationalmap.gov/small_scale/printable.html National Atlas Maps of the United States] - Printable and other types of maps are also available from this site.  
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*[https://nationalmap.gov/small_scale/printable.html National Atlas Maps of the United States] - Printable and other types of maps are also available from this site.
*[http://www.usgenweb.org/ The US GenWeb] is a great resource for maps, including [http://usgwarchives.net/maps/table2.html State and County Maps],&nbsp;the [http://usgwarchives.net/maps/usa/ United States Digital Map Library] and 67 maps from [http://usgwarchives.net/maps/cessions/ Indian Land Cessions in the United States].  
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*[http://www.usgenweb.org/ The US GenWeb] is a great resource for maps, including [http://usgwarchives.net/maps/table2.html State and County Maps],&nbsp;the [http://usgwarchives.net/maps/usa/ United States Digital Map Library] and 67 maps from [http://usgwarchives.net/maps/cessions/ Indian Land Cessions in the United States].
 
*[https://www.archives.gov/publications/general-info-leaflets/26-cartographic.html The National Archives—Cartographic Branch] '''<br>The National Archives''' <br>841 South Pickett Street<br>Alexandria, VA 22304<br>and the [http://www.loc.gov/rr/geogmap/ Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress] have significant collections of a variety of maps, including land ownership, railroad, and fire insurance maps.
 
*[https://www.archives.gov/publications/general-info-leaflets/26-cartographic.html The National Archives—Cartographic Branch] '''<br>The National Archives''' <br>841 South Pickett Street<br>Alexandria, VA 22304<br>and the [http://www.loc.gov/rr/geogmap/ Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress] have significant collections of a variety of maps, including land ownership, railroad, and fire insurance maps.
  
=== County Boundary Maps ===
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===County Boundary Maps===
  
 
To find records of an ancestor, it is necessary to learn the political jurisdictions that kept records in his area during the years he lived there. Town, county, parish, and state boundaries changed over time, so maps that show historical boundary changes help to quickly identify an ancestor's record jurisdiction.  
 
To find records of an ancestor, it is necessary to learn the political jurisdictions that kept records in his area during the years he lived there. Town, county, parish, and state boundaries changed over time, so maps that show historical boundary changes help to quickly identify an ancestor's record jurisdiction.  
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State and County Boundary Maps:  
 
State and County Boundary Maps:  
  
*[https://www.randymajors.com/p/countygmap.html County Lines on Google Maps] (randymajors.com), present-day county boundaries on a searchable, fully interactive Google Map.  Includes counties for the US, UK, Ireland, Australia and Canada.  
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*[https://www.randymajors.com/p/countygmap.html County Lines on Google Maps] (randymajors.com), present-day county boundaries on a searchable, fully interactive Google Map.  Includes counties for the US, UK, Ireland, Australia and Canada.
*[http://randymajors.com/p/maps.html Historical County Boundary Maps] (randymajors.com), allows users to type a current location and choose a year in order to display what the  U.S. county boundaries were at that time and place, all on a fully interactive Google Map. You can easily change decades to see additional boundary changes. Clicking in the county area brings up a brief history of the last boundary change.  
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*[http://randymajors.com/p/maps.html Historical County Boundary Maps] (randymajors.com), allows users to type a current location and choose a year in order to display what the  U.S. county boundaries were at that time and place, all on a fully interactive Google Map. You can easily change decades to see additional boundary changes. Clicking in the county area brings up a brief history of the last boundary change.
*[http://publications.newberry.org/ahcbp Historical county border maps] (Newberry Library) are available online for each U.S. state which are usable on GIS software and Google Maps.  
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*[http://publications.newberry.org/ahcbp Historical county border maps] (Newberry Library) are available online for each U.S. state which are usable on GIS software and Google Maps.
*[http://www.mapofus.org/ State and County Boundary Maps] (mapofus.org) are available online. This is a very easy to use map collection that allows you to choose a state and click through the years as the state and its counties evolve. It also allows you to see a map of the state for specific census years (see the links below the map).
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*[http://www.mapgeeks.org/ State and County Boundary Maps] (mapgeeks.org) are available online. This is a very easy to use map collection that allows you to choose a state and click through the years as the state and its counties evolve. It also allows you to see a map of the state for specific census years (see the links below the map).
 
*[http://ftp2.census.gov/geo/maps/general_ref/us_base/stco2003/stco2003.pdf 2003 US State and County Boundaries Map] (US Census Bureau). This is a map that shows the entire United States broken down into counties. You can zoom in and read the county names, even counties in neighboring states.
 
*[http://ftp2.census.gov/geo/maps/general_ref/us_base/stco2003/stco2003.pdf 2003 US State and County Boundaries Map] (US Census Bureau). This is a map that shows the entire United States broken down into counties. You can zoom in and read the county names, even counties in neighboring states.
  
==== Recommended Books ====
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====Recommended Books====
  
*Maps of county boundaries as they exist today and as they existed in each census year through 1920 are shown in&nbsp;''Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920 ''by William Thorndale and William Dollarhide. <ref>Thorndale, William, and William Dollarhide. ''Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920''. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1987. (FHL book 973 X2th.)</ref> This source also includes helpful information about the availability of census records.  
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*Maps of county boundaries as they exist today and as they existed in each census year through 1920 are shown in&nbsp;''Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920 ''by William Thorndale and William Dollarhide. <ref>Thorndale, William, and William Dollarhide. ''Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920''. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1987. (FHL book 973 X2th.)</ref> This source also includes helpful information about the availability of census records.
*Maps of modern county boundaries are also in both ''The Handy Book for Genealogists and Ancestry's Red Book''. These are available at most libraries and Family History Centers.  
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*Maps of modern county boundaries are also in both ''The Handy Book for Genealogists and Ancestry's Red Book''. These are available at most libraries and Family History Centers.
*Detailed maps and legal histories of county formations and changes are found in ''Historical Atlas and Chronology of County Boundaries, 1788-1980.'' <ref>Long, John H., editor. ''Historical Atlas and Chronology of County Boundaries, 1788-1980.'' Five Volumes. Boston, Massachusetts: G. K. Hall, 1984. (FHL book 973 E7hL; fiche 60514226-30.)</ref> The states included are Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.  
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*Detailed maps and legal histories of county formations and changes are found in ''Historical Atlas and Chronology of County Boundaries, 1788-1980.'' <ref>Long, John H., editor. ''Historical Atlas and Chronology of County Boundaries, 1788-1980.'' Five Volumes. Boston, Massachusetts: G. K. Hall, 1984. (FHL book 973 E7hL; fiche 60514226-30.)</ref> The states included are Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
*The published states of Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and Pennsylvania are found in the ''Atlas of Historical County Boundaries'' <ref>Long, John H., editor. [State] ''Atlas of Historical County Boundaries''. New York, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1996-. </ref>The Family History Library has this work, but each volume is cataloged separately.  
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*The published states of Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and Pennsylvania are found in the ''Atlas of Historical County Boundaries'' <ref>Long, John H., editor. [State] ''Atlas of Historical County Boundaries''. New York, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1996-. </ref>The Family History Library has this work, but each volume is cataloged separately.
 
*''The Original Cleartype Business Control Atlas,'' is a basic atlas that shows state and county boundaries, county seats, all places of 1,000 population or more, and some places with fewer than 1,000. <ref>''The Original Cleartype Business Control Atlas,'' Annual. Maspeth, New York: American Map Corporation. (FHL book 970 E3b 1988.)</ref>
 
*''The Original Cleartype Business Control Atlas,'' is a basic atlas that shows state and county boundaries, county seats, all places of 1,000 population or more, and some places with fewer than 1,000. <ref>''The Original Cleartype Business Control Atlas,'' Annual. Maspeth, New York: American Map Corporation. (FHL book 970 E3b 1988.)</ref>
  
 
See also the [[United States Historical Geography|Historical Geography]] page for further help on tracing the histories of counties and their boundaries.
 
See also the [[United States Historical Geography|Historical Geography]] page for further help on tracing the histories of counties and their boundaries.
  
=== Township Maps ===
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===Township Maps===
  
 
*Maps and an index of townships and other present-day civil boundaries are in ''Township Atlas of the United States'' <ref>Andriot, Jay. ''Township Atlas of the United States''. McLean, Virginia: Documents Index, 1991. (FHL book 973 E7an 1991.)</ref>
 
*Maps and an index of townships and other present-day civil boundaries are in ''Township Atlas of the United States'' <ref>Andriot, Jay. ''Township Atlas of the United States''. McLean, Virginia: Documents Index, 1991. (FHL book 973 E7an 1991.)</ref>
  
== Locating Township and County Boundaries ==
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==Locating Township and County Boundaries==
  
 
Maps of modern county boundaries are in&nbsp;:  
 
Maps of modern county boundaries are in&nbsp;:  
  
*[https://www.randymajors.com/p/countygmap.html County Lines on Google Maps] (randymajors.com), present-day county boundaries on a searchable, fully interactive Google Map.  
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*[https://www.randymajors.com/p/countygmap.html County Lines on Google Maps] (randymajors.com), present-day county boundaries on a searchable, fully interactive Google Map.
*''The Handybook for Genealogists, United States of America.'' 11th ed. Logan, Utah: Everton Publishers, 2006.  
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*''The Handybook for Genealogists, United States of America.'' 11th ed. Logan, Utah: Everton Publishers, 2006.
 
*Eichholz, Alice, ed. ''Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources''. Provo, Utah: Ancestry. 2004.
 
*Eichholz, Alice, ed. ''Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources''. Provo, Utah: Ancestry. 2004.
  
Line 92: Line 92:
 
Detailed maps and legal histories of county formations and changes are found in:  
 
Detailed maps and legal histories of county formations and changes are found in:  
  
*[https://www.randymajors.com/p/maps.html Historical U.S. County Boundary Maps] (randymajors.com) An online tool that uses Google Maps to display county boundaries from any historical date. Type in present day place in the U.S. and a historical date or year to see the map of county boundaries then in effect, along with all of the current Google Maps places, roads, etc to put the historical map in a current and familiar context! You can then click any county on the map to see the specific history of the boundary changes, see full chronology of boundary changes, and overlay research locations such as libraries and cemeteries. Based on the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries, a project of The Newberry Library.  
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*[https://www.randymajors.com/p/maps.html Historical U.S. County Boundary Maps] (randymajors.com) An online tool that uses Google Maps to display county boundaries from any historical date. Type in present day place in the U.S. and a historical date or year to see the map of county boundaries then in effect, along with all of the current Google Maps places, roads, etc to put the historical map in a current and familiar context! You can then click any county on the map to see the specific history of the boundary changes, see full chronology of boundary changes, and overlay research locations such as libraries and cemeteries. Based on the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries, a project of The Newberry Library.
*Long, John H., editor. ''Historical Atlas and Chronology of County Boundaries, 1788-1980.'' Five Volumes. Boston, Massachusetts: G. K. Hall, 1984. (FHL book 973 E7hL; fiche 60514226-30.) The states included are Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.  
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*Long, John H., editor. ''Historical Atlas and Chronology of County Boundaries, 1788-1980.'' Five Volumes. Boston, Massachusetts: G. K. Hall, 1984. (FHL book 973 E7hL; fiche 60514226-30.) The states included are Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
*[http://www.mapofus.org/united-states/ MapofUS.org]  
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*[http://www.mapofus.org/united-states/ MapofUS.org]
 
*[http://www.mapofus.org/massachusetts/ Massachusetts Genealogy 101] has maps showing boundary changes in Massachusetts and is also a good research site for Massachusetts.<br>
 
*[http://www.mapofus.org/massachusetts/ Massachusetts Genealogy 101] has maps showing boundary changes in Massachusetts and is also a good research site for Massachusetts.<br>
  
 
[[Image:Congressional Township Rectangular Survey Grid.png|649px]]  
 
[[Image:Congressional Township Rectangular Survey Grid.png|649px]]  
  
=== City Maps ===
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===City Maps===
  
==== Ward Maps ====
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====Ward Maps====
  
 
The Library of Congress has detailed ward maps of major cities. These show the census districts and political divisions of large cities. Valuable finding aids for City Ward maps is on microfilm found at the Family History Library.  
 
The Library of Congress has detailed ward maps of major cities. These show the census districts and political divisions of large cities. Valuable finding aids for City Ward maps is on microfilm found at the Family History Library.  
  
*[http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gmdhtml/ Library of Congress Digitized Map Collection] is a large online collection of digitized maps -- cities and towns, military battles and more.  
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*[http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gmdhtml/ Library of Congress Digitized Map Collection] is a large online collection of digitized maps -- cities and towns, military battles and more.
 
*''Ward Maps of United States Cities''<ref>''Ward Maps of United States Cities: Microfilm Reproduction of 232 Maps Described in Ward Maps of United States Cities''. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, [1975?]. (FHL film 1377700; fiche 6016554-782.)</ref>&nbsp;A description of each map and a chart that shows which maps to use with each U.S. census is in: ''Ward Maps of United States Cities: A Selective Checklist of Pre-1900 Maps in the Library of Congress''<ref>Shelley, Michael H. ''Ward Maps of United States Cities: A Selective Checklist of Pre-1900 Maps in the Library of Congress''. Washington, D.C.: Not published 1975. (FHL book 973 A1 no. 99; film 928120 item 16.)</ref>
 
*''Ward Maps of United States Cities''<ref>''Ward Maps of United States Cities: Microfilm Reproduction of 232 Maps Described in Ward Maps of United States Cities''. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, [1975?]. (FHL film 1377700; fiche 6016554-782.)</ref>&nbsp;A description of each map and a chart that shows which maps to use with each U.S. census is in: ''Ward Maps of United States Cities: A Selective Checklist of Pre-1900 Maps in the Library of Congress''<ref>Shelley, Michael H. ''Ward Maps of United States Cities: A Selective Checklist of Pre-1900 Maps in the Library of Congress''. Washington, D.C.: Not published 1975. (FHL book 973 A1 no. 99; film 928120 item 16.)</ref>
  
==== Fire Insurance Maps ====
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====Fire Insurance Maps====
  
*[http://sanborn.umi.com/ Sanborn maps] ($) 1867-1970 have been digitized. This collection has more than 660,000 maps of 12,000+ cities and towns, and includes a [http://sanborn.umi.com/HelpFiles/key.html map key].&nbsp;  
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*[http://sanborn.umi.com/ Sanborn maps] ($) 1867-1970 have been digitized. This collection has more than 660,000 maps of 12,000+ cities and towns, and includes a [http://sanborn.umi.com/HelpFiles/key.html map key].&nbsp;
 
*Some Sanborn maps are also available in the Websites listed in the Atlases section in this page, as well as on some sites listed at [http://www.maphistory.info/imageus.html Images of Early Maps on the Web] (free) by Maphistory.info.
 
*Some Sanborn maps are also available in the Websites listed in the Atlases section in this page, as well as on some sites listed at [http://www.maphistory.info/imageus.html Images of Early Maps on the Web] (free) by Maphistory.info.
  
==== City/Town Locators (GPS Coordinates) ====
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====City/Town Locators (GPS Coordinates)====
  
 
*While the [https://geonames.usgs.gov/apex/f?p=138:1:5707269042885 USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)]&nbsp;is not a map, it yields latitude and longitude,&nbsp;current county, and elevation for towns and many geographic features.&nbsp;These coordinates can be used to&nbsp;plot&nbsp;towns on a&nbsp;historic&nbsp;map.&nbsp;
 
*While the [https://geonames.usgs.gov/apex/f?p=138:1:5707269042885 USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)]&nbsp;is not a map, it yields latitude and longitude,&nbsp;current county, and elevation for towns and many geographic features.&nbsp;These coordinates can be used to&nbsp;plot&nbsp;towns on a&nbsp;historic&nbsp;map.&nbsp;
  
=== Land Ownership&nbsp;(Plat) Maps&nbsp; ===
+
===Land Ownership&nbsp;(Plat) Maps&nbsp;===
  
 
Government or commercial agencies have created numerous maps showing the names of property boundaries and land owners in an area. These are often called “cadastral” maps. They sometimes include other helpful details such as churches, cemeteries, and roads.  
 
Government or commercial agencies have created numerous maps showing the names of property boundaries and land owners in an area. These are often called “cadastral” maps. They sometimes include other helpful details such as churches, cemeteries, and roads.  
  
*To access thousands of cadastral maps online, see the Websites listed in the Atlases section on this page.  
+
*To access thousands of cadastral maps online, see the Websites listed in the Atlases section on this page.
*An inventory of many of the land ownership maps can be found at the ''Land Ownership Maps: A Checklist of Nineteenth Century United States County Maps in the Library of Congress'' <ref>Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. ''Land Ownership Maps: A Checklist of Nineteenth Century United States County Maps in the Library of Congress''. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1967. (FHL book 973 A3Loc; fiche 6048262.) </ref>and in ''Land Ownership Maps''<ref>Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. ''Land Ownership Maps''. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1983. (On 2,010 FHL fiche starting with 6079238.)</ref>  
+
*An inventory of many of the land ownership maps can be found at the ''Land Ownership Maps: A Checklist of Nineteenth Century United States County Maps in the Library of Congress'' <ref>Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. ''Land Ownership Maps: A Checklist of Nineteenth Century United States County Maps in the Library of Congress''. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1967. (FHL book 973 A3Loc; fiche 6048262.) </ref>and in ''Land Ownership Maps''<ref>Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. ''Land Ownership Maps''. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1983. (On 2,010 FHL fiche starting with 6079238.)</ref>
*For more information about land ownership, see [[United States Land and Property|Land and Property]].  
+
*For more information about land ownership, see [[United States Land and Property|Land and Property]].
 
*[http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/ Federal Land Patent Records and Associated Survey Plat Maps] gives&nbsp;access to federal land conveyance records.
 
*[http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/ Federal Land Patent Records and Associated Survey Plat Maps] gives&nbsp;access to federal land conveyance records.
  
Line 136: Line 136:
 
*Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. ''Land Ownership Maps.'' Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1983. (On 2,010 FHL fiche starting with 6079238.)
 
*Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. ''Land Ownership Maps.'' Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1983. (On 2,010 FHL fiche starting with 6079238.)
  
== Plat Maps ==
+
==Plat Maps==
 
The county or town offices that maintain land and property records often have plat books containing maps of property boundaries and land ownership within the county. <br>• [http://www.arphax.com Arphax Publishing Co]., Norman, Oklahoma offers patent maps.<br>  
 
The county or town offices that maintain land and property records often have plat books containing maps of property boundaries and land ownership within the county. <br>• [http://www.arphax.com Arphax Publishing Co]., Norman, Oklahoma offers patent maps.<br>  
  
 
Also see [[Grants from the Federal Government (Public Domain)#Obtaining_a_Legal_Description_of_the_Land|Federal Plats]] section under “Obtaining a Legal Description of the Land” for information about the federal township plats.  
 
Also see [[Grants from the Federal Government (Public Domain)#Obtaining_a_Legal_Description_of_the_Land|Federal Plats]] section under “Obtaining a Legal Description of the Land” for information about the federal township plats.  
  
== Surveys ==
+
==Surveys==
  
 
A surveyor’s drawing of the legal description of the land is called a “survey” or “plat.” Some of these were recorded and some were kept as loose papers. No land could be owned by an individual until it was surveyed.
 
A surveyor’s drawing of the legal description of the land is called a “survey” or “plat.” Some of these were recorded and some were kept as loose papers. No land could be owned by an individual until it was surveyed.
Line 149: Line 149:
 
[http://www.geocommunicator.gov/blmMap/MapLSIS.jsp Land Survey Information System] helps plot rectangular survey land (township, range, secton). <br>  
 
[http://www.geocommunicator.gov/blmMap/MapLSIS.jsp Land Survey Information System] helps plot rectangular survey land (township, range, secton). <br>  
  
=== Census Maps ===  
+
===Census Maps===  
*[http://ftp2.census.gov/geo/maps/general_ref/us_base/stco2003/stco2003.pdf United States Census Bureau State and County Map] - This map will allow you to zoom in on any State or County in the United States and read the names of all of the neighboring Counties. This makes it easy to see close by locations where other relatives might have lived. This map shows current Counties, consult the individual State Maps section to find out about historical maps. You can even type in a county name in the search box to locate the county on the map.
 
  
=== Military Maps ===
+
*[http://ftp2.census.gov/geo/maps/general_ref/us_base/stco2003/stco2003.pdf United States Census Bureau State and County Map] - This map will allow you to zoom in on any State or County in the United States and read the names of all of the neighboring Counties. This makes it easy to see close by locations where other relatives might have lived. This map shows current Counties, consult the individual State Maps section to find out about historical maps. You can even type in a county name in the search box to locate the county on the map.
  
*The [http://digital-library.usma.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/civmaps USMA Library's Special Collections and Archives] has Civil War Maps, Colonial and Federal Era Maps, Maps of North America from the Colonial, Revolutionary and Federalist eras.
+
===Military Maps===
*[http://lcweb4.loc.gov/ammem/collections/civil_war_maps/ Civil War maps ]by the Library of Congress, American Memory Collection, allows one to follow the footsteps of his ancestor in the battles.&nbsp;Nearly 3,000 Civil War maps, charts, atlases and sketchbooks have posted.
 
  
=== Slavery Maps ===
+
*The [http://digital-library.usma.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/civmaps USMA Library's Special Collections and Archives] has Civil War Maps, Colonial and Federal Era Maps, Maps of North America from the Colonial, Revolutionary and Federalist eras.
 +
*[http://lcweb4.loc.gov/ammem/collections/civil_war_maps/ Civil War maps] by the Library of Congress, American Memory Collection, allows one to follow the footsteps of his ancestor in the battles.&nbsp;Nearly 3,000 Civil War maps, charts, atlases and sketchbooks have posted.
 +
 
 +
===Slavery Maps===
  
 
*''Map Showing the Distribution of the Slave Population of the Southern States of the United States. Compiled from the Census of 1860, Drawn by E. Hergesheimer, Engr. by Th. Leonhardt''. Published by Henry S. Grahm, 1860. Purchase at [http://reevesmaps.com/map_catalog_civil.htm ReevesMaps.com]; website includes a scaled-down version of the map.
 
*''Map Showing the Distribution of the Slave Population of the Southern States of the United States. Compiled from the Census of 1860, Drawn by E. Hergesheimer, Engr. by Th. Leonhardt''. Published by Henry S. Grahm, 1860. Purchase at [http://reevesmaps.com/map_catalog_civil.htm ReevesMaps.com]; website includes a scaled-down version of the map.
  
=== Topography ===
+
===Topography===
  
 
*[https://www.usgs.gov/products/maps/topo-maps USGS: Topographical Maps]
 
*[https://www.usgs.gov/products/maps/topo-maps USGS: Topographical Maps]
Line 172: Line 173:
 
*[https://geonames.usgs.gov/ USGS: Geographic Names Information System] - this site helps you locate a feature in any state. The website returns a table giving the elevation, county, map quadrangle name, and the latitude-longitude location of the feature.
 
*[https://geonames.usgs.gov/ USGS: Geographic Names Information System] - this site helps you locate a feature in any state. The website returns a table giving the elevation, county, map quadrangle name, and the latitude-longitude location of the feature.
  
== Research helps ==
+
==Research helps==
  
*[http://www.maphistory.info/imageus.html Images of Early Maps on the Web] (free) by Maphistory.info&nbsp;links to collections containing tens of thousands of historic maps online. Organized by state.  
+
*[http://www.maphistory.info/imageus.html Images of Early Maps on the Web] (free) by Maphistory.info&nbsp;links to collections containing tens of thousands of historic maps online. Organized by state.
*[http://lincolnmullen.com/projects/us-boundaries/ Historical Boundaries of the United States, 1783–1912]  
+
*[http://lincolnmullen.com/projects/us-boundaries/ Historical Boundaries of the United States, 1783–1912]
*The ''Guide to U.S. Map Resources'' is an excellent inventory of the map holdings of 3,000 libraries and historical societies.<ref>Cobb, David A., compiler. ''Guide to U.S. Map Resources''. Chicago, Illinois: American Library Association, 1986. (FHL book 973 E74co.)</ref>  
+
*The ''Guide to U.S. Map Resources'' is an excellent inventory of the map holdings of 3,000 libraries and historical societies.<ref>Cobb, David A., compiler. ''Guide to U.S. Map Resources''. Chicago, Illinois: American Library Association, 1986. (FHL book 973 E74co.)</ref>
*''The Map Catalog'' has information about maps and how to obtain them.<ref>Madower, Joel, editor. ''The Map Catalog''. New York, New York: Vintage Books, 1986. (FHL book 973 E73ma.)</ref>  
+
*''The Map Catalog'' has information about maps and how to obtain them.<ref>Madower, Joel, editor. ''The Map Catalog''. New York, New York: Vintage Books, 1986. (FHL book 973 E73ma.)</ref>
*The [[The Family History Library|Family History Library]] has a small collection of loose maps of historical value, and a fine collection of printed historical atlases. These are listed in the&nbsp;Place Search of the[https://familysearch.org/catalog-search FamilySearch Catalog ]under:
+
*The [[The Family History Library|Family History Library]] has a small collection of loose maps of historical value, and a fine collection of printed historical atlases. These are listed in the&nbsp;Place Search of the[https://familysearch.org/catalog-search FamilySearch Catalog] under:
  
::UNITED STATES - MAPS<br>  
+
::UNITED STATES - MAPS<br>
::[STATE] - MAPS<br>  
+
::[STATE] - MAPS<br>
::[STATE], [COUNTY] - MAPS<br>  
+
::[STATE], [COUNTY] - MAPS<br>
 
::[STATE], [COUNTY], [TOWN] - MAPS.
 
::[STATE], [COUNTY], [TOWN] - MAPS.
  
== Websites ==
+
==Websites==
  
*[https://www.randymajors.com/p/maps.html Historical U.S. County Boundary Maps]
+
*[https://www.randymajors.com/p/maps.html Historical U.S. County Boundary Maps]
*[https://www.randymajors.com/p/countygmap.html County Lines on Google Maps]
+
*[https://www.randymajors.com/p/countygmap.html County Lines on Google Maps]
*[http://www.geonames.org The GeoNames gazetteer]  
+
*[http://www.geonames.org The GeoNames gazetteer]
*[http://www.infoplease.com/atlas/unitedstates.html Info Please]  
+
*[http://www.infoplease.com/atlas/unitedstates.html Info Please]
*Library of Congress, [http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/browse/ListSome.php?nocheck=1&&category=Maps "American Memory"] collection  
+
*Library of Congress, [http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/browse/ListSome.php?nocheck=1&&category=Maps "American Memory"] collection
*United States [http://nationalatlas.gov/printable/territorialacquisition.html#list territorial acquisitions]  
+
*United States [http://nationalatlas.gov/printable/territorialacquisition.html#list territorial acquisitions]
*Principal Meridians and Base Lines Governing the United States Public Land Surveys. [http://www.blm.gov/cadastral/meridians/meridians.htm Cadastral Survey]  
+
*Principal Meridians and Base Lines Governing the United States Public Land Surveys. [http://www.blm.gov/cadastral/meridians/meridians.htm Cadastral Survey]
*[http://geonames.usgs.gov/domestic/index.html US Board on Geographic Names ] like Omni.  
+
*[http://geonames.usgs.gov/domestic/index.html US Board on Geographic Names] like Omni.
*At [http://itouchmap.com/latlong.html iTouchMap.com] you can enter latitude and longitude coordinates in the search box in decimal format, as well as find the latitude and longitude for an address.  
+
*At [http://itouchmap.com/latlong.html iTouchMap.com] you can enter latitude and longitude coordinates in the search box in decimal format, as well as find the latitude and longitude for an address.
*[http://oldmapsonline.org/ OldMapsOnline.org]  
+
*[http://oldmapsonline.org/ OldMapsOnline.org]
*[http://www.davidrumsey.com/ The David Rumsey Map Collection]  
+
*[http://www.davidrumsey.com/ The David Rumsey Map Collection]
*[http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/ The Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection]  
+
*[http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/ The Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection]
*[http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/findhelprestype/webres/scanned/ Maps: Scanned collections online from the British Library]  
+
*[http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/findhelprestype/webres/scanned/ Maps: Scanned collections online from the British Library]
*[http://trove.nla.gov.au/map?q= Trove.nla.gov.au Maps]  
+
*[http://trove.nla.gov.au/map?q= Trove.nla.gov.au Maps]
*[http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/ The New York Public Library]  
+
*[http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/ The New York Public Library]
*[http://nationalmap.gov/ustopo/ USGS Topographical Map Collections including Historical Topographical Maps]  
+
*[http://nationalmap.gov/ustopo/ USGS Topographical Map Collections including Historical Topographical Maps]
*[http://westernwaters.org/ Western Waters Digital Library]  
+
*[http://westernwaters.org/ Western Waters Digital Library]
*[http://libguides.lib.msu.edu/content.php?pid=101767&sid=1078648 Michigan State University, Using Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps Online]  
+
*[http://libguides.lib.msu.edu/content.php?pid=101767&sid=1078648 Michigan State University, Using Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps Online]
*[http://search.ancestry.com/ Ancestry.com]  
+
*[http://search.ancestry.com/ Ancestry.com]
*[http://archive.org/ Archive.org]  
+
*[http://archive.org/ Archive.org]
*[http://dp.la/ Digital Public Library of America]  
+
*[http://dp.la/ Digital Public Library of America]
*[https://www.census.gov/geo/maps-data/maps/stcou_outline.html United States Census Bureau State and County Maps]  
+
*[https://www.census.gov/geo/maps-data/maps/stcou_outline.html United States Census Bureau State and County Maps]
*[http://www.historicmapworks.com/ Historic Map Works]  
+
*[http://www.historicmapworks.com/ Historic Map Works]
*[http://publications.newberry.org/ahcbp/ Newberry Atlas of Historical County Boundaries]  
+
*[http://publications.newberry.org/ahcbp/ Newberry Atlas of Historical County Boundaries]
*[http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/map_sites/hist_sites.html University of Texas at Austin, Historical Maps Websites]  
+
*[http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/map_sites/hist_sites.html University of Texas at Austin, Historical Maps Websites]
*[http://www4.uwm.edu/libraries/digilib/maps/index.cfm American Geographical Society - Digital Map Collection]  
+
*[http://www4.uwm.edu/libraries/digilib/maps/index.cfm American Geographical Society - Digital Map Collection]
*[http://awmc.unc.edu/wordpress/free-maps/ Ancient World Mapping Center - Maps for Students]  
+
*[http://awmc.unc.edu/wordpress/free-maps/ Ancient World Mapping Center - Maps for Students]
*[http://www.digital-topo-maps.com/ Digtal-Topo-Maps.com]  
+
*[http://www.digital-topo-maps.com/ Digtal-Topo-Maps.com]
*[http://www.archives.gov/research/start/by-format.html#cartographic National Archives, Cartographic and Architectural Records]  
+
*[http://www.archives.gov/research/start/by-format.html#cartographic National Archives, Cartographic and Architectural Records]
*[http://www.publicdomainsherpa.com/public-domain-maps-resources.html Public Domain Sherpa, Public Domain Maps]  
+
*[http://www.publicdomainsherpa.com/public-domain-maps-resources.html Public Domain Sherpa, Public Domain Maps]
*[http://olinuris.library.cornell.edu/content/gis-u.s. Olin and Uris Libraries, Cornell University, GIS Data and Maps, United States]  
+
*[http://olinuris.library.cornell.edu/content/gis-u.s. Olin and Uris Libraries, Cornell University, GIS Data and Maps, United States]
*[http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/library/maps/pdfs/historic-15mintopos.pdf Index to Digital USGS 15 Minute Topographical Maps]  
+
*[http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/library/maps/pdfs/historic-15mintopos.pdf Index to Digital USGS 15 Minute Topographical Maps]
*[http://www.maphistory.info/imageus.html Map History, Images of early maps on the web]  
+
*[http://www.maphistory.info/imageus.html Map History, Images of early maps on the web]
*[http://digitalstatearchives.com/ DigitalStateArchives.com]  
+
*[http://digitalstatearchives.com/ DigitalStateArchives.com]
*[http://docs.unh.edu/nhtopos/nhtopos.htm University of New Hampshire, Historic USGS Maps of New England and New York]  
+
*[http://docs.unh.edu/nhtopos/nhtopos.htm University of New Hampshire, Historic USGS Maps of New England and New York]
*[http://railsandtrails.com/default.htm Rails and Trails, Historic Transportation Sources]  
+
*[http://railsandtrails.com/default.htm Rails and Trails, Historic Transportation Sources]
*[https://nationalmap.gov/maps.html USGS National Map ]  
+
*[https://nationalmap.gov/maps.html USGS National Map]
 
*[http://www.fs.fed.us/maps/forest-maps.shtml US Forest Service Maps]
 
*[http://www.fs.fed.us/maps/forest-maps.shtml US Forest Service Maps]
  
== References ==
+
==References==
*Andriot, Jay. ''Township Atlas of the United States.'' McLean, Virginia: Documents Index, 1991.  
+
 
*The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "Land and Property." ''United States Research Outline.'' Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., 1988, 2002.  
+
*Andriot, Jay. ''Township Atlas of the United States.'' McLean, Virginia: Documents Index, 1991.
*The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "Maps." ''United States Research Outline.'' Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., 1988, 2002.  
+
*The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "Land and Property." ''United States Research Outline.'' Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., 1988, 2002.
*Eichholz, Alice, ed. ''Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.'' Provo, Utah: Ancestry. 2004.  
+
*The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "Maps." ''United States Research Outline.'' Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., 1988, 2002.
*Greenwood, Val. ''Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy.'' 3rd ed. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2000, 2003.  
+
*Eichholz, Alice, ed. ''Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.'' Provo, Utah: Ancestry. 2004.
*''The Handybook for Genealogists, United States of America.'' 11th ed. Logan, Utah: Everton Publishers, 2006.  
+
*Greenwood, Val. ''Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy.'' 3rd ed. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2000, 2003.
*Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. ''Land Ownership Maps.'' Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1983.  
+
*''The Handybook for Genealogists, United States of America.'' 11th ed. Logan, Utah: Everton Publishers, 2006.
*Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. ''Land Ownership Maps: A Checklist of Nineteenth Century United States County Maps in the Library of Congress.'' Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1967.  
+
*Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. ''Land Ownership Maps.'' Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1983.
*Long, John H., editor. ''Historical Atlas and Chronology of County Boundaries, 1788-1980.'' Five Volumes. Boston, Massachusetts: G. K. Hall, 1984.  
+
*Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. ''Land Ownership Maps: A Checklist of Nineteenth Century United States County Maps in the Library of Congress.'' Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1967.
*Luebking, Sandra Hargreaves. “Land Records,” in Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, eds. ''The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy.'' 3rd ed. Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2006.  
+
*Long, John H., editor. ''Historical Atlas and Chronology of County Boundaries, 1788-1980.'' Five Volumes. Boston, Massachusetts: G. K. Hall, 1984.
*Stephenson, Richard W. ''Land Ownership Maps.'' Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1967.  
+
*Luebking, Sandra Hargreaves. “Land Records,” in Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, eds. ''The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy.'' 3rd ed. Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2006.
 +
*Stephenson, Richard W. ''Land Ownership Maps.'' Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1967.
 
*Wilford, John Noble. ''The Mapmakers.'' Rev. ed. Alfred A. Knopf, 2000.
 
*Wilford, John Noble. ''The Mapmakers.'' Rev. ed. Alfred A. Knopf, 2000.
  

Revision as of 07:15, 10 June 2019

United States Wiki Topics
United States flag.png
Beginning Research
Record Types
United States Background
Cultural Groups
Local Research Resources


Maps can be used to locate the places where your ancestors lived. They identify political boundaries, names of places, geographical features, cemeteries, churches, and migration routes. Historical maps are especially useful for finding communities and political boundaries that no longer exist.

Genealogical information in various types of maps[edit | edit source]

To select the right kind of map to solve a genealogical problem, it is helpful to know what kinds of information each type of map displays.[1]

  • Atlases are bound collections of maps. Historical atlases are especially useful because they tend to plot historic towns and landmarks more accurately than old maps do in relation to jurisdictional boundaries and geographic features.
  • Boundary change maps show shifts in borders of townships, counties, states and territories over time.
  • Census maps. Spelling errors by census takers often make ancestors hard to find. If you know your ancestor's address (or general area of residence in rural areas), census maps showing enumeration district boundaries can indicate where in the census rolls to search for the ancestor. 
  • Chamber of commerce maps, which can usually be obtained for free from city and town chambers of commerce, show streets, government offices, courthouses, libraries, businesses, museum archives, and important landmarks. 
  • City and town maps show detailed street information, addresses, rail and mass transit routes, and landmarks.
  • City and town locator maps plot a town and often give its coordinates so that it can be plotted in an historical atlas or map to determine the county, parish, or state in which it resided during a given year. 
  • City plans often demystify the renaming of streets, parks, neighborhoods, and other features.
  • County, Parish, or Province maps show roads, cemeteries, landmarks, local boundaries, and physical features.
  • Fire insurance maps (Sanborn maps) of 12,000 cities and towns yield street names and specific properties and addresses starting in 1867. Using these with city directories can help locate urban ancestors in a given year.
  • Land ownership (cadastral) maps and plat books show boundaries of land plots, and usually the owners' names.
  • Military maps show extreme detail regarding geographical features, terrain, landmarks, natural resources, place names, and landmarks. 
  • Railroad maps indicate preferred routes of travel during an era where the routes changed from one year to the next. These also aid in tracking the possible whereabouts of railroad employees since many railroads merged or changed names. 
  • Topographic or geologic maps show terrain, natural resources (forests, mining resources), and features that affected travel (rivers, rapids, canals, mountains, mountain passes, canyons).

Where to get various types of maps[edit | edit source]

Atlases (and broad collections)[edit | edit source]

An atlas is a bound collection of maps. Historical atlases cover boundary changes, migration routes, settlement patterns, military campaigns, American Indian reservations, and the development of towns. Historical atlases are especially useful because they tend to plot historic towns and landmarks more accurately than old maps do in relation to jurisdictional boundaries and geographic features. Many county atlases show the names of landowners and are usually based on county plat maps (see Land and Property). 

  • The Norman B Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library (free) is in the process of digitizing a significant portion of its 200,000 historic maps and 5,000 atlases. The collection's scope is the World, Europe, and America, with particular attention to New England, Massachusetts, and Boston from the 15th century to the present day.
  • Ancestor Tracks (free) has posted 19th-century Pennsylvania landowner maps and atlases covering about 80% of the land-mass of Pennsylvania.  They can be used with the 1850-1880 censuses and published county histories.
  • HistoricMapWorks.com ($) offers over 800,000 online historic maps from the 18th and early 19th centuries at $0.99 per download. Searchable by place name, family name, or street address.
  • The Alan M. Voorhees Collection ($) at the Library of Virginia has maps, charts and atlases. The images online are thumbnails rather than usable copies, but larger prints can be ordered for a fee.
  • Some important atlases in book form are Atlas of American History[2], The American Heritage Pictorial Atlas of United States History[3], and The Shaping of America[4]
  • Brick-and-mortar sources for atlases include historical and genealogical societies, public libraries, and university libraries.

State Maps[edit | edit source]

County Boundary Maps[edit | edit source]

To find records of an ancestor, it is necessary to learn the political jurisdictions that kept records in his area during the years he lived there. Town, county, parish, and state boundaries changed over time, so maps that show historical boundary changes help to quickly identify an ancestor's record jurisdiction.

GoldBug.com allows users to plot a town (even an extinct town) and show it on Google Maps.

State and County Boundary Maps:

  • County Lines on Google Maps (randymajors.com), present-day county boundaries on a searchable, fully interactive Google Map. Includes counties for the US, UK, Ireland, Australia and Canada.
  • Historical County Boundary Maps (randymajors.com), allows users to type a current location and choose a year in order to display what the U.S. county boundaries were at that time and place, all on a fully interactive Google Map. You can easily change decades to see additional boundary changes. Clicking in the county area brings up a brief history of the last boundary change.
  • Historical county border maps (Newberry Library) are available online for each U.S. state which are usable on GIS software and Google Maps.
  • State and County Boundary Maps (mapgeeks.org) are available online. This is a very easy to use map collection that allows you to choose a state and click through the years as the state and its counties evolve. It also allows you to see a map of the state for specific census years (see the links below the map).
  • 2003 US State and County Boundaries Map (US Census Bureau). This is a map that shows the entire United States broken down into counties. You can zoom in and read the county names, even counties in neighboring states.

Recommended Books[edit | edit source]

  • Maps of county boundaries as they exist today and as they existed in each census year through 1920 are shown in Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920 by William Thorndale and William Dollarhide. [5] This source also includes helpful information about the availability of census records.
  • Maps of modern county boundaries are also in both The Handy Book for Genealogists and Ancestry's Red Book. These are available at most libraries and Family History Centers.
  • Detailed maps and legal histories of county formations and changes are found in Historical Atlas and Chronology of County Boundaries, 1788-1980. [6] The states included are Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
  • The published states of Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and Pennsylvania are found in the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries [7]The Family History Library has this work, but each volume is cataloged separately.
  • The Original Cleartype Business Control Atlas, is a basic atlas that shows state and county boundaries, county seats, all places of 1,000 population or more, and some places with fewer than 1,000. [8]

See also the Historical Geography page for further help on tracing the histories of counties and their boundaries.

Township Maps[edit | edit source]

  • Maps and an index of townships and other present-day civil boundaries are in Township Atlas of the United States [9]

Locating Township and County Boundaries[edit | edit source]

Maps of modern county boundaries are in :

  • County Lines on Google Maps (randymajors.com), present-day county boundaries on a searchable, fully interactive Google Map.
  • The Handybook for Genealogists, United States of America. 11th ed. Logan, Utah: Everton Publishers, 2006.
  • Eichholz, Alice, ed. Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources. Provo, Utah: Ancestry. 2004.

Maps and an index of townships and other present-day civil boundaries are in:

  • Andriot, Jay. Township Atlas of the United States. McLean, Virginia: Documents Index, 1991. (FHL book 973 E7an 1991.)

Detailed maps and legal histories of county formations and changes are found in:

  • Historical U.S. County Boundary Maps (randymajors.com) An online tool that uses Google Maps to display county boundaries from any historical date. Type in present day place in the U.S. and a historical date or year to see the map of county boundaries then in effect, along with all of the current Google Maps places, roads, etc to put the historical map in a current and familiar context! You can then click any county on the map to see the specific history of the boundary changes, see full chronology of boundary changes, and overlay research locations such as libraries and cemeteries. Based on the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries, a project of The Newberry Library.
  • Long, John H., editor. Historical Atlas and Chronology of County Boundaries, 1788-1980. Five Volumes. Boston, Massachusetts: G. K. Hall, 1984. (FHL book 973 E7hL; fiche 60514226-30.) The states included are Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
  • MapofUS.org
  • Massachusetts Genealogy 101 has maps showing boundary changes in Massachusetts and is also a good research site for Massachusetts.

Congressional Township Rectangular Survey Grid.png

City Maps[edit | edit source]

Ward Maps[edit | edit source]

The Library of Congress has detailed ward maps of major cities. These show the census districts and political divisions of large cities. Valuable finding aids for City Ward maps is on microfilm found at the Family History Library.

  • Library of Congress Digitized Map Collection is a large online collection of digitized maps -- cities and towns, military battles and more.
  • Ward Maps of United States Cities[10] A description of each map and a chart that shows which maps to use with each U.S. census is in: Ward Maps of United States Cities: A Selective Checklist of Pre-1900 Maps in the Library of Congress[11]

Fire Insurance Maps[edit | edit source]

  • Sanborn maps ($) 1867-1970 have been digitized. This collection has more than 660,000 maps of 12,000+ cities and towns, and includes a map key
  • Some Sanborn maps are also available in the Websites listed in the Atlases section in this page, as well as on some sites listed at Images of Early Maps on the Web (free) by Maphistory.info.

City/Town Locators (GPS Coordinates)[edit | edit source]

  • While the USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) is not a map, it yields latitude and longitude, current county, and elevation for towns and many geographic features. These coordinates can be used to plot towns on a historic map. 

Land Ownership (Plat) Maps [edit | edit source]

Government or commercial agencies have created numerous maps showing the names of property boundaries and land owners in an area. These are often called “cadastral” maps. They sometimes include other helpful details such as churches, cemeteries, and roads.

  • To access thousands of cadastral maps online, see the Websites listed in the Atlases section on this page.
  • An inventory of many of the land ownership maps can be found at the Land Ownership Maps: A Checklist of Nineteenth Century United States County Maps in the Library of Congress [12]and in Land Ownership Maps[13]
  • For more information about land ownership, see Land and Property.
  • Federal Land Patent Records and Associated Survey Plat Maps gives access to federal land conveyance records.

For further reading on land ownership, see Plat Map on Wikipedia.

An inventory of many of the land ownership maps is:

  • Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. Land Ownership Maps: A Checklist of Nineteenth Century United States County Maps in the Library of Congress. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1967. (FHL book 973 A3Loc; fiche 6048262.)

Some of these maps are found under:

  • Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. Land Ownership Maps. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1983. (On 2,010 FHL fiche starting with 6079238.)

Plat Maps[edit | edit source]

The county or town offices that maintain land and property records often have plat books containing maps of property boundaries and land ownership within the county.
Arphax Publishing Co., Norman, Oklahoma offers patent maps.

Also see Federal Plats section under “Obtaining a Legal Description of the Land” for information about the federal township plats.

Surveys[edit | edit source]

A surveyor’s drawing of the legal description of the land is called a “survey” or “plat.” Some of these were recorded and some were kept as loose papers. No land could be owned by an individual until it was surveyed.

Homestead surveys for several states are available online.

Land Survey Information System helps plot rectangular survey land (township, range, secton).

Census Maps[edit | edit source]

  • United States Census Bureau State and County Map - This map will allow you to zoom in on any State or County in the United States and read the names of all of the neighboring Counties. This makes it easy to see close by locations where other relatives might have lived. This map shows current Counties, consult the individual State Maps section to find out about historical maps. You can even type in a county name in the search box to locate the county on the map.

Military Maps[edit | edit source]

  • The USMA Library's Special Collections and Archives has Civil War Maps, Colonial and Federal Era Maps, Maps of North America from the Colonial, Revolutionary and Federalist eras.
  • Civil War maps by the Library of Congress, American Memory Collection, allows one to follow the footsteps of his ancestor in the battles. Nearly 3,000 Civil War maps, charts, atlases and sketchbooks have posted.

Slavery Maps[edit | edit source]

  • Map Showing the Distribution of the Slave Population of the Southern States of the United States. Compiled from the Census of 1860, Drawn by E. Hergesheimer, Engr. by Th. Leonhardt. Published by Henry S. Grahm, 1860. Purchase at ReevesMaps.com; website includes a scaled-down version of the map.

Topography[edit | edit source]

Research helps[edit | edit source]

UNITED STATES - MAPS
[STATE] - MAPS
[STATE], [COUNTY] - MAPS
[STATE], [COUNTY], [TOWN] - MAPS.

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  • Andriot, Jay. Township Atlas of the United States. McLean, Virginia: Documents Index, 1991.
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "Land and Property." United States Research Outline. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., 1988, 2002.
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "Maps." United States Research Outline. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., 1988, 2002.
  • Eichholz, Alice, ed. Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources. Provo, Utah: Ancestry. 2004.
  • Greenwood, Val. Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy. 3rd ed. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2000, 2003.
  • The Handybook for Genealogists, United States of America. 11th ed. Logan, Utah: Everton Publishers, 2006.
  • Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. Land Ownership Maps. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1983.
  • Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. Land Ownership Maps: A Checklist of Nineteenth Century United States County Maps in the Library of Congress. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1967.
  • Long, John H., editor. Historical Atlas and Chronology of County Boundaries, 1788-1980. Five Volumes. Boston, Massachusetts: G. K. Hall, 1984.
  • Luebking, Sandra Hargreaves. “Land Records,” in Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, eds. The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy. 3rd ed. Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2006.
  • Stephenson, Richard W. Land Ownership Maps. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1967.
  • Wilford, John Noble. The Mapmakers. Rev. ed. Alfred A. Knopf, 2000.
  1. Most of the information from this section is taken from More than One Kind of Map, by George G Morgan, Orem, Utah: Ancestry.com, 08 September 2000 http://learn.ancestry.com/LearnMore/Article.aspx?id=2299
  2. Atlas of American History, Second Edition, revised. New York, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1984. (FHL Ref 973 E7at; 1943 edition on film 1415259 item 9.),
  3. The American Heritage Pictorial Atlas of United States History. New York, New York: American Heritage Publishing, 1966. (FHL book 973 E7ah.)
  4. Meinig, D. W. The Shaping of America: A Geographical Perspective on 500 Years of History. Two Volumes. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1986. (FHL book 973 E3me; fiche 6125626-27.)
  5. Thorndale, William, and William Dollarhide. Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1987. (FHL book 973 X2th.)
  6. Long, John H., editor. Historical Atlas and Chronology of County Boundaries, 1788-1980. Five Volumes. Boston, Massachusetts: G. K. Hall, 1984. (FHL book 973 E7hL; fiche 60514226-30.)
  7. Long, John H., editor. [State] Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. New York, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1996-.
  8. The Original Cleartype Business Control Atlas, Annual. Maspeth, New York: American Map Corporation. (FHL book 970 E3b 1988.)
  9. Andriot, Jay. Township Atlas of the United States. McLean, Virginia: Documents Index, 1991. (FHL book 973 E7an 1991.)
  10. Ward Maps of United States Cities: Microfilm Reproduction of 232 Maps Described in Ward Maps of United States Cities. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, [1975?]. (FHL film 1377700; fiche 6016554-782.)
  11. Shelley, Michael H. Ward Maps of United States Cities: A Selective Checklist of Pre-1900 Maps in the Library of Congress. Washington, D.C.: Not published 1975. (FHL book 973 A1 no. 99; film 928120 item 16.)
  12. Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. Land Ownership Maps: A Checklist of Nineteenth Century United States County Maps in the Library of Congress. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1967. (FHL book 973 A3Loc; fiche 6048262.)
  13. Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. Land Ownership Maps. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1983. (On 2,010 FHL fiche starting with 6079238.)
  14. Cobb, David A., compiler. Guide to U.S. Map Resources. Chicago, Illinois: American Library Association, 1986. (FHL book 973 E74co.)
  15. Madower, Joel, editor. The Map Catalog. New York, New York: Vintage Books, 1986. (FHL book 973 E73ma.)