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Websites To Help You Find Old Local Maps

Websites To Help You Find Old Local Maps

Whilst it’s great learning about your ancestors, a lot of people neglect to learn about the places they lived or even the land they they might have owned or worked on. The majority of us will have ancestors that lived and worked in rural areas, be it in the United Kingdom, Europe or the USA. There are websites dedicated to preserving and displaying old local maps.

1. (USA & Ireland) has Maps from: Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, Nautical Charts, Alaska, California, Florida, Georgia, Great Lakes, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Texas as well as general maps of: America, Railroad Maps, Ireland Maps.

Each category differs vastly in what it offers and all have loads of maps within, of various shapes and sizes. The website itself is quite dated (as is the case with most genealogical sites) however it has no problems with it’s functionality. It also offers large scale prints in it’s shop of any of the maps it offers on the site.

2. (WorldWide)

“Based in Portland Maine, Historic Map Works, LLC is an Internet company formed to create a historic digital map database of North America and the world. Drawing on the largest physical collection of American property atlases of its type, it is our aim to be the single best online destination for map enthusiasts and researchers alike.

In addition to our own atlas collection, we incorporated our scans of the antiquarian world map collection from the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education located at the University of Southern Maine. Combining these collections allows site visitors a vast amount of information spanning several centuries of cartographic information.” – About Page

Their collections include: United States Property Atlases, Antiquarian Maps, Nautical Charts, Birdseye Views, Special Collections (Celestial Maps, Portraits, and other historical images), Directories and other text documents. They too offer large scale prints of the maps they offer and often have sales.

3. The Canadian County Atlas Digital Project (Canada)

“Between 1874 and 1881, approximately forty county atlases were published in Canada, covering counties in the Maritimes, Ontario and Quebec. Thirty-two of these atlases were produced for Ontario by the following five companies: H. Belden & Co. (17); H.R. Page & Co. (8); Walker & Miles (5); J.H. Meacham & Co. (1); H. Parsell (1). Two types of county atlases exist for Ontario, those which covered a single county or multiple adjacent counties, and those which were published as supplements to Dominion of Canada atlases. In total, 40 Ontario counties were covered by these 32 atlases.” – McGill University Site

The Canadian County Atlas Digital Project is run by McGill University and offers a nice drop down menu at the top of the page that allows you to search by  County, Township or Town. Each item in the drop downs contains one map of the area. You can view large versions of any of the maps for free!

4. Old Maps Online Web + App (Worldwide) 

Old Maps Online is not only a powerful website but it also offers apps available on the Apple App store or on Google Play. It started as a collaboration between Klokan Technologies GmbH in Switzerland and The Great Britain Historical GIS Project which is based at the University of Portsmouth, UK. They offer over 400,000 Old Maps and whilst the app has its downfalls when zooming and scrolling the sheer scale and intuitive interactive map give it an edge especially as they’ve gone down the Mobile route. The majority of niche genealogical sources seem to be about a decade out of date when it comes to design so its nice to see a fresher website.

6 Reasons You Should Join or Start a One Name Study.

6 Reasons You Should Join or Start a One Name Study.

Guild of One Name Studies (GOONS)

If you’ve ever stumbled across an unusual name in your research and ended up whacking it in to Google then you’ve probably come across The Guild Of One Name Studies (Goons). If not, it’s a Website that offers a different outlook to the conventional Family Tree. Rather than a focus on a particular members own tree, a One Name Study is exactly what it sounds like. All members of a One Name Study contribute to a common goal which involves a particular surname, this goal could be very broad like: “All instances of the Surname Barber and it’s variations wordwide” which would for obvious reasons be a massive project.

While the Guild insists that all studies be global in scope, it is perfectly acceptable to start with a smaller area like a US state or British county and build out from there, like for example the surname Juden in West Sussex. The techniques you learn on a small scale can then be applied similarly as the geographic scope widens. Some Guild members may choose to be global but restrict the time period on which they initially work and then extend backward or forward from there. There are plenty of reasons to join or start a One-Name Study.

Reason 1: A massive community of like minded individuals all contributing to a common goal.

The nature of a One Name Study tends to attract people that are less likely to be selfish in their studies and share any information and knowledge they might have. This could be in the form of sources, local history or general tips and tricks they have learnt themselves. This might in turn break down brick walls in your own family tree, or give you insights in to collections or sources you might otherwise have missed.Two Head sharing knowledge graphic

Reason 2: Guild Marriage Challenges.

A Guild Marriage Challenge is a project in which members will visit local archives in specific registration districts and look up marriages. This helps with eliminating the need to spend as much money on Marriage Certificates. Put in to real terms, if you were to only manage to find two records from these challenges then you’ve already paid for your subscription.Marriage Record For Pierre Louis Oscar Cordier

Reason 3: Discounted DNA Tests.

The Guild also offers discounted DNA Tests for all of its members. These tests are the same ones found on Family Tree DNA which include: YDNA 37 Marker and the Family Finder Autosomal test. Both can offer different insights in to your ancient ancestry.DNA Strand

Reason 4: Breaking down Brick Walls.

With the enormous wealth of knowledge the members of the Guild have you are certain to find someone that is interested in helping you break down a brick wall in a particular area, the solution might come from local knowledge that only a select few members know about or a search tip that leads you to the breakthrough source.Breaking down a Brick Wall

Reason 5: Free Profile Page on the Guild website.

With a free profile page you can get noticed by new and existing members with the same surname interests. Here you can add everything you know about your chosen surname and outline the goals of your project.

One Name Study Profile Page

Reason 6: Get more in depth knowledge of a surname. 

If for only this reason alone you join The Guild it will be worth it as you’ll actually have some verified history about the surname you choose complete with stats and sources to back your claims up.Juden surname page