It's all about location! Using historical maps will boost your genealogy research. Place your ancestors on the map!
Genealogy Resources

Where To Find FREE Online Historical Maps For Your Genealogy Research

What genealogy researcher does not love a good historical map?!

I’ve always been a fan of maps – even as a young child.  Remember those Trip-tiks AAA used to give out when you planned a vacation?  I use to get my very own, so I could check off each town and state line as we traveled to someplace fun.

As a genealogy researcher, I love spending time studying maps and quite literally placing my ancestors in a specific location and time.  Knowing where an ancestor was in time and place can help you the researcher understand migration patterns and the community where an ancestor lived.

Fortunately, for us as researchers, many maps can be found online for FREE.  

[You know me, I’m a frugal genealogist and free is good!]
It's all about location!  Using historical maps will boost your genealogy research. Place your ancestors on the map! #genealogy #historicalmaps #ancestors
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Explore these FREE resources for online historical maps. 

Where To Find Free Online Historical Maps

1. Google Maps and Google Earth – Great resources for visualizing where your ancestors lived.

2. David Rumsey’s Historical Maps – Fantastic (and large) historical map collection including maps from around the world.

It's all about location! Using historical maps will boost your genealogy research. Place your ancestors on the map!
Dave Rumsey Map Collection

3. Library of Congress – An excellent collection of maps from around the world.

4. The Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collectionat The University of Texas at Austin – Indexes historical maps from libraries and archives.

5. Alabama Maps (The University of Alabama) – Large collection of maps both for the US and the World

6. Sanborn Maps – Fire insurance maps detailing a city.  These are found at the Library of Congress, but sue to their uniqueness I chose to give them their own separate listing. 

Location, location, location! Place your ancestors on the map (literally) using free online historical maps.
1885 Sanborn Map of San Antonio, TX (Source: Library of Congress)

 

7. Atlas of Historical County Boundaries – Don’t lose track of your ancestors in the records. Keep up with the changing county boundaries through the years as you research.

8. City Directories – Maps of a city or town were often included in a city directory. Check the back and the front sections for local street maps.

Location, location, location! Place your ancestors on the map (literally) using free online historical maps.
1836 Map of Salem, MA

9. Osher Map Library (University of Southern Maine)  – Large collection of historical maps

10.Old Maps Online– Indexes over 400,000 old maps in libraries and archives.

 11.National Library of Australia– For those of you with Australian roots! A large collection of maps.

12.Old-Maps.co.uk–  A comprehensive  map collection covering England, Scotland and Wales.

13. A Vision of Britain Old Map Collection – Maps centered focused on Britain from 1801 to now.

14. National Library of Scotland Scottish ancestors?  Check out this large map collection.

15. USGS Topo Maps – The historical topographical maps are helpful to the genealogy researcher where the “old” names of local landmarks and features can be found.

How to Search For  Maps To Use In Genealogy Research

The list above covers predominantly U.S. based sites with free historical maps. If you do not see maps covering the region you research, searching for online maps is relatively easy.  

Perform a Google search using search terms such as:

“Online historical maps [region/country]”    An example: “Online historical maps Germany”

Google Search for Historical Maps

Or try adding a date for narrow your results:

“Online historical maps [regions/country] [year]”  An example would be “Online historical maps France 1890”

Note: Typing the quotation marks into the search bar is not necessary.

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