Pure Michigan Genealogy: Maps

24 May 2013 7:51 AM Posted by Brenda L.

Pure Michigan Genealogy
Maps are an important tool in your genealogy research.  Maps have a treasure trove of information ready for you to decipher.  Once you have accumulated a few facts, you will want to turn to maps to to truly understand your ancestors.  You will want to learn how they lived and where they lived.  You will want to look at old and new maps, online and paper maps.  Maps are a good resource because they will give you clues for where to look for more information.  If your grandparents owned a farm in Dickson Township, Manistee, Michigan, as mine did, you can look at the map and see what the nearest town is and where the county seat is located.  Maps can show towns, cemeteries, railroads, streets and roads, rivers and so much more.  There are many types of maps available for your Michigan research.

1.  Plat Maps are usually found on a county by county format.  They show land ownership at a certain place in a certain time.  They can be found in local county equalization offices, local libraries, or at local MSU Extension offices. 

2.  Topographic Maps offer an opportunity to locate farmsteads using selected cultural and physical features of the landscape.  Roads, fence lines, barns, orchards, gravel pits  cemeteries, railroad tracks and schools are cultural features.  Rivers, creeks, hills, valleys, lakes and swamps are physical features.      The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has articles on Using Maps in Genealogy.  The USGS website has topographical maps for Michigan and other states.

3.  Political Maps are the maps we usually use.  They show cities, towns, counties, etc.

4.  Fire Insurance maps will include businesses, schools, and churches.

For the purpose of this blog post, I will give a few online Michigan map sources:

Pure Michigan Genealogy is a series of posts on researching in Michigan.  I am posting a blog article every day this week as Michigan celebrates Michigan Week.  Michigan Week is a time when Michigan celebrates its' heritage.  Maps is number seven in the series.  Other posts in the series are below.




  

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