Monday, November 25, 2013

MAPPY MONDAY–Mapping the lives of your ancestors

US Laminated Map   World Map - laminated
Any time we are doing genealogy research we have a need to know about maps.  Questions to ask yourself:

      1.  Where did your ancestors live?
      2.  Where did they come from originally?
      3.  What brought them to these areas?
      4.  Were there other family members close by?  If not, why not? 
      5.  Did your ancestors move around?  A lot?  Or a little?

The two maps I’ve shown above are the front and back of an 8 1/2 x 11 laminated map given to me by a fellow genealogist about 8 years ago.  It sits right here next to my printer.  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve picked up this map to look at a location.  I also take it with me when I go to libraries or on any genealogy research trip.  It is pre-punched with holes for placing into a 3-ring binder.

I’ve checked online today and see that you can still buy this map from several sites.  I’ve linked two of them here for your reference.  ABE and 

I do not claim any affiliation with either of these sites, I only mention them for your convenience.  The price was the same on both sites.


Another one I couldn’t live without is the “Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses 1790-1920” by William Thorndale and William Dollarhide.  Copyright 1987.  Published by Genealogpical Publishing Co., Inc.  ISBN 0-8063-1188-6  Cover of Fed census book by Wm Dollarhide

What this book contains:  420 pages covering each state from 1790-1920 and an index.  You can see what the county boundaries where for each state in any given census year.  (Providing there was a census in that state in that particular year).  Example:  Michigan doesn’t have a U.S. population census until 1810.  Here are examples of the pages for 1810 and 1900-1920 for Michigan.  I have placed tabs on the states I refer to the most often (as you can see in the first picture).
Page 159 of Dollarhide book_Michigan 1810
Michigan County map in 1810 - also visible are the current county lines
Page 168 of Dollarhide book_Michigan 1900-1920
Michigan County lines 1900-1920
This book is available for purchase at MAP GUIDE TO U.S. FEDERAL CENSUS on

If you don’t want to buy a copy of this book, I have found it available on Google books at the following link:  GOOGLE BOOKS - Free copy of book

Road atlas cover from amazonOne final item I also use all the time, is a good old fashioned Road Atlas. 
The one I have is a large (11” x 15”)spiral bound book of maps of the United Stated and Canada.  Again, I have tabs on the states or provinces I refer to most frequently.  I Googled “road atlas” and found several sites.  Here is a link to the Amazon site just as a reference.


Have we answered the 5 questions I asked at the beginning of this post?  Not yet.  But, we have some excellent reference material to assist us.  

Of course, there are thousands of maps available online.  I use them too.  However, for me, there is something about having that map in my hand and running my finger over it from point to point.  I’m generally a pretty technically inclined gal, but for some things, I still like items in hand.  

In a later post I will go over some of the ways to actually answer the questions posed above. 

Til then, happy traveling,
Michigan Girl

Copyright © 2013 Diane Gould Hall

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I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.