Sunday, February 21, 2010

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy, Challenge 8: Maps

For this challenge, I chose to look at the Library of Congress' collection.  I was less than thrilled with what I was (not) able to find so I went a different route.  Many USGenWeb sites have maps or links to maps for areas in their respective counties.  I am consistently blown away by how wonderful the Isabella Co., Michigan USGenWeb site is.  It is the type of GenWeb site all others should aspire to and in all my years of using the GenWeb network, I have yet to find another county site that compares.  So obviously, Isabella's site was the first I went to to find maps and I wasn't disappointed.

See that, the name in the orange box?  That "C.S. Wood" is my third great-grandfather, Charles S. Wood.  The map is a Plat map for Rolland Twp. in 1899.  You can view the whole map here.  Also on the map was a Mary Hubscher.  A Mary Hubscher married Charles S. Wood's son, James.  I knew Charles was a farmer in Michigan, but I had no idea he owned so much land, his plot is one of larger ones on the map.

There was also a Plat map from 1915.  I was surprised at how much the area had changed in just sixteen years.  Charles' son James took is on the map farming 80 of the 160 acres.  I think Charles had died by now and James (the eldest surviving son) inherited the farm.

Another resource I liked was the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection. They had many California maps and I found some real gems.  I was most excited about an 1878 Atlas for Alameda Co. because it had my Haley ancestors farms on it.

I've underestimated how valuable a resource maps were.  I'm certainly going to try and seek them out more as a research aid.

1 comment:

  1. Yes I love Platt maps. More people should go to the trouble of finding them. And how great you were able to enlarge it, so we get a better look. I would have been long in discoverering them, if a good genealogist had not sent me some back when I first started. Very inspireing.

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