©2018 by Donald R. Snow

This page was last updated 2018-03-18.
Go to the  Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group Home Page  or  Don's Class Listings Page .


  1. Instructor is Donald R. Snow ( ) of Provo and St. George, Utah.
  2. The notes with active URLs and additional information in other notes and articles are posted at
  3. Tips:  (1)  To put an icon on your desktop for these notes, or any webpage, just drag the icon from in front of the address in your browser onto your desktop.  (2)  To open a link, but keep your place in these notes, hold down the Control key while clicking the link.
  4. The problem for today: Finding and using online maps for family history.

  6. Maps give a visual representation of information in compact form -- e.g. locations, distances, relationships of places, geographical features
  7. Kinds of maps -- teaching maps, road, topological (contours or level lines at given heights show hills and valleys - contours close together = steep, contours further apart = flatter), land and property, railroad, fire insurance, migration, historical, county maps (boundaries and changes), cemetery, surname distribution, relief maps (3D models in plastic, etc.), aerial, and "bird's eye view" (aerial at a slant to see the geographic features more easily)
  8. GPS tools - very helpful in family history -- even cameras have GPSs now so you can tell exactly where a photo was taken

  10. A gazetteer is a book or website describing locations in words, including their history and geography
  11. United States gazetteers --
  12. Samuel Lewis' Topographical Dictionary (Gazetteer) of England of 1848 (4 vols) -- 
  13. Very helpful online world gazetteer is the Getty Museum Thesaurus -- -- for an example type in Ragtown, United States

  15. David Rumsey Map Collection -- -- large collection of historical maps, constantly added to
  16. Perry-Castaneda Map Collection at U of Texas -- and
  17. New York Public Library Digital Collection -- -- and for more info see --
  18. Links to map collections, mostly at colleges and universities --

  20. See lists by state in -- for general maps see Maps and Gazetteers in Statewide Resources for the state
  21. US Geological Survey (USGS) --
  22. US National Map by USGS -- -- a major website with many helps and links, includes topos, historic, and aerial views
  23. National Atlas -- -- many printable maps
  24. Library of Congress Map Collection -- 
  25. US historical
    1. Growth of the US - 10-minute online video --
    2. US county boundary changes over time - interactive -- -- based on old Animap program
    3. US state and county boundary changes over time - interactive -- -- can download the maps with instructions on overlaying them on Google Earth
    4. Early US Maps --
    5. Historical Map and Chart Collection -- -- Office of Coast Survey (NOAA)
    6. Historic Land Ownership and Reference Atlases ($$$, but free at FHCs) -- 
    7. Marshall Historic Maps Collection -- -- Historic USGS topo maps
    8. Historic and bird's eye view maps, primarily New England ($$$, some free) --
  26. Sanborn Fire Insurance maps
    1. Search Linkpendium (see above) for Sanborn maps
    2. Finding free Sanborn Maps online --
    3. Union List of Sanborn Maps, UC Berkeley --  
    4. Sanborn Fire Insurance maps in Library of Congress -- 
    5. Sanborn Fire Insurance maps ($$$) --


  27. Steve Morse's One-Step Road And Aerial Views by address of lat/long -- 
  28. Map Your Ancestors - FamilySearch -- 
  29. Visualize Your Ancestors With RootsMapper -- 
  30. England and Wales 1851 Jurisdictions maps -- -- shows parishes, locations, information, probate courts, links; interactive and can be used like a gazetteer
  31. FamilySearch Research Wiki for maps of a country -- > Search > Research Wiki > Country > Maps   
  32. Old Maps Online --  
  33. Surname distribution maps
    1. FamilySearch --  and 
    3. GenealogyBlog -- 
  34. LDS Church:  Bible Maps -- , Church History Maps --
  35. Map that Don made around the London England Hyde Park Chapel - Click Here  
  36. 30-minute video on using maps in Family History -- 
  37. 8-minute video on using maps - Ancestry -- The Sayre's -- 
  38. Helps with maps -- 

  40. There is a wealth of maps and information online and more being added all the time.  Hopefully, these notes give you a place to start to find what you need.
  41. Make your own maps of migration, your ancestors' locations, and many other ideas, by using Google's "My Maps" and Google Earth.

  42. Go to the Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group Home Page or Don's Class Listings Page .