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Finding Your Way Home: Using Maps in Genealogical Research

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Gazetteers will often list geographic coordinates of a place ... National Geographic Maps. Current road maps both national and international coverage ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Finding Your Way Home: Using Maps in Genealogical Research


1
Finding Your Way Home Using Maps in
Genealogical Research
Map Library University of Colorado
Libraries Naomi Heiser Ilene Raynes Laura
Wright (303) 492-7578 email maplib_at_colorado.edu
2
What maps can show you
  • Places
  • Towns, either still occupied OR no longer in
    existence
  • Previous names of a place
  • Regions, such as provinces, parishes, colloquial
    names of areas
  • Properties
  • Farms, businesses, estates
  • The nearest county seat or information source for
    records

3
What maps can show you
  • Boundaries
  • Counties, states, countries, properties, etc.
  • Boundaries may be different today than when your
    family member lived there.
  • Maps can be used to figure out how boundaries
    have changed over time.

4
What maps can show you
  • Landmarks
  • Mountains, forests, creeks, schools, cemeteries,
    geologic features
  • These may have been noted in a story, a diary, a
    letter.
  • They may help pinpoint a home or property even if
    it isnt marked on a map.
  • The landmark may carry a family name

5
What maps can show you
  • Transportation routes
  • Roads, rivers, railroads, trails, exploration
    routes
  • These may have also been mentioned in references.
  • They can help you trace a migration course to a
    destination.

6
What maps can show you
  • Proximities
  • The closest place to the place youre searching
  • This may be as good a reference point as you can
    find

7
What maps can show you
  • Beauty and pleasure!
  • The satisfaction of seeing a place on a map, of
    visualizing the place of your ancestors in its
    context.

8
Types of maps useful for genealogists
  • Topographic
  • Shows the lay of the land
  • Relief (elevation) features
  • Surface features of all kinds
  • Often very detailed (for instance the USGS
    124,000 scale series)
  • Most countries have done a detailed topographic
    survey

9
Types of maps useful for genealogists
  • Planimetric -
  • Show surface features WITHOUT relief
  • Usually focuses on roads, towns, property
    boundaries
  • Many maps of cities, counties, properties are
    made this way
  • Railroad
  • Show towns and villages along railroad routes
  • Sometimes identify boundaries of individual land
    tracts

10
Types of maps useful for genealogists
  • City and county maps
  • Sometimes show property boundaries, homes
  • Sometimes show property owner names or business
    names
  • County highway maps
  • Produced by states highway or transportation
    departments
  • Useful for seeing details such as cemeteries,
    rural churches, and communities

11
Types of maps useful for genealogists
  • Maps that show township names
  • many USGS older topographic maps, and other types
    of maps, show township names
  • can be used to locate vital records of ancestors
  • County atlases
  • 19th century publications
  • contain land holdings, residences, post offices,
    churches, businesses

12
Types of maps useful for genealogists
  • Plats
  • Maps that show essential data pertaining to the
    boundaries of a tract of land
  • Based on survey data
  • BLM Land Patents Database
  • http//www.glorecords.blm.gov/

13
Types of maps useful for genealogists
  • Sanborn maps
  • Fire Insurance maps made by the Sanborn company
  • Show cities/towns at a building-by-building level
  • Sometimes include owner names on land parcels
    (not often)
  • Often includes business names on buildings
  • Only show within official city limits
  • More information at http//ucblibraries.colorado.
    edu/map/sanborn.htm

14
How do you find places on maps?
  • Gazetteers (place name lists)
  • U.S. Board of Geographic Names (foreign
    countries)
  • Many choices from commercial publishers (such as
    Columbia Gazetteer, Omni Gazetteer)
  • Small press specialty publications (such as Place
    Names of Colorado)
  • Government publications (states, countries,
    provinces…)
  • Web sites

15
How do you find places on maps?
  • Latitude/longitude coordinates
  • Gazetteers will often list geographic coordinates
    of a place
  • Most maps will include a latitude/longitude
    reference grid
  • Example This Map Library is at (approximately)
  • 40 0' 29" N, 105 15' 55" W

16
How do you find places on maps?
  • Township/range locations
  • Grid system for identifying parcels of land
  • Example This Map Library is in
  • T1N, R70W, Section 31, SE 1/4

17
How do you find places on maps?
  • Descriptions of areas
  • If a place is not listed in a gazetteer, you may
    have to find the place by looking for other known
    geographic features on a map

18
How do you find places on maps?
  • Time and Patience
  • Sometimes, you may have to sit down with a map
    and look it over from top to bottom to find a
    place!

19
Federal Depository Library (The University of
Colorado Libraries are one!)
  • USGS (United States Geological Survey)
  • NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency)
  • NIMA (National Imagery and Mapping Agency)
  • AMS (Army Map Service)
  • DMA (Defense Mapping Agency)
  • USFS (United States Forest Service)
  • BLM (Bureau of Land Management)
  • NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric
    Administration)
  • CIA (Central Intelligence Agency)
  • NPS (National Park Service)

20
Chinook on-line catalog (You may search for maps
here)
  • http//libraries.colorado.edu/
  • Many maps still uncataloged (so please, ask us
    for help finding maps)
  • Maps published after 1950 circulate for two weeks

21
Paper map collection Highlights for
genealogists
  • Historic
  • Historic urban plans/birds eye views of many
    major U.S. and world cities
  • Reproductions of 18th and 19th c. country maps
  • AMS series are generally dated 1930s-1960s
  • Misc. uncataloged maps
  • Jonathan Sheppard 19th century county maps of
    Ireland and England

22
Paper map collection Highlights for
genealogists
  • Current topos of all of the United States
  • 124,000, 1100,000 and 1250,000
  • National Geographic Maps
  • Current road maps both national and
    international coverage
  • Current topographic coverage for some countries
    like England, Ireland, Canada and Mexico

23
Paper map collection Highlights for
genealogists
  • Atlases (both general and specific)
  • World atlases to help orient, locate a specific
    place
  • Historical atlases of specific regions or
    countries
  • Gazetteers
  • Baedekers Travel Guides
  • Coverage from the later 1800s to early 1900s

24
Paper map collection Highlights for
genealogists
  • Historic Colorado
  • Plats of townships (General Land Office surveys,
    1890s-1930s)
  • Old topographic maps and mining maps
    (1880s-1940s)
  • Sanborn maps (1870s-1960s)
  • Miscellaneous reproductions of state maps

25
Digital data
  • Historic maps on CD
  • Coverage
  • U.S. and Canada before 1800
  • Europe 1856-1920
  • North America railroads 1870-1917
  • British Isles 1856-1920
  • Contains .gif and .bmp image files that can be
    used in various image programs
  • CD of Historical Maps of France
  • From the 16th and 17th Centuries
  • Current topographic coverage for Canada and
    Australia

26
Web Resources
  • Map Library web page
  • http//ucblibraries.colorado.edu/map/index.htm
  • Local resources - information and links to
  • Local (Front Range) libraries with map
    collections
  • Local map vendors
  • Web resources
  • 200 links to web sites with on-line maps,
    geographic information, and digital data sources

27
Gazetteers
  • ShtetlSeeker
  • http//www.jewishgen.org/shtetlseeker/
  • GeoNet world place names
  • http//164.214.2.59/gns/html/index.html
  • GNIS (Geographic Names Information System) U.S.
    place names
  • http//geonames.usgs.gov/

28
Current maps online
  • Terraserver
  • www.terraserver-usa.com
  • Hosts USGS digitized aerial photographs and
    digitized topographic maps of the U.S.
  • Its easy to back and forth between a photo and a
    map of the same area.
  • Topozone
  • http//www.topozone.com/
  • USGS topographic maps of the U.S. at various
    scales
  • a commercial site that offers value-added
    products if you subscribe
  • Maptech
  • http//www.maptech.com/onlinemaps
  • Free online resource for previewing topographic
    maps, nautical charts, coastal aerial photos and
    aeronautical charts.
  • Also offers scanned older USGS topographic maps
    of some states

29
Historical maps online
  • FEEFHS Map Room
  • http//feefhs.org/maps/indexmap.html
  • Perry Castañeda Library Map Collection
  • http//www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/index.ht
    ml
  • Library of Congress Map Collections
  • http//memory.loc.gov/ammem/gmdhtml/gmdhome.html
  • David Rumsey Map Collection
  • http//davidrumsey.com/

30
Historic map vendors online
  • Historic Urban Plans
  • http//www.historicurbanplans.com/
  • Jonathan Sheppard Books
  • http//www.jonathansheppardbooks.com/
  • The Gold Bug Store
  • http//www.goldbug.com/
  • Historical Ink
  • http//www.oldmapsne.com/
  • Ireland Old Maps
  • www.alangodfreymaps.co.uk/ireland.htm
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