Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records
Find and map your ancestors’ land records in this trove of images of more than 5 million federal land title records issued since 1820, plus survey plats and field notes dating to 1810.
Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names Online
Those Getty billions pay off in this searchable database of more than 1.1 million locales, including historical places (with dates) and alternate spellings.
The downloadable Google Earth version 6.0 lets you zoom around the world on your computer or mobile device in 3D, and now includes historical imagery. Or check out the street views—the next best thing to visiting your ancestral places in person.
Historic Map Works $
No longer for libraries only, this subscription site (pay per use or $29.99 a month, $249.99 a year) offers 1.5 million images, with more than 300,000 geocoded for its Historic Earth viewer. There’s even an iPhone app with historic views of 25 states.
Newberry Library Atlas of Historical County Boundaries
Never again be stumped by the shifting county lines in your ancestors’ state of origin. This free interactive atlas serves up maps where you can pan and zoom, add or subtract modern boundaries; you can also download the maps as “shapefiles” for use with geographic information system (GIS) software.
US Geological Survey
Find your ancestral stomping grounds, no matter how obscure, in the National Atlas or the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), then plot them on the National Map and create your own customized maps.
Browse Family Tree Magazine‘s 2011 Best Websites for genealogy research:
- 101 Best Websites for 2011 Home
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- Born in the USA
- State-of-the-Art Archives
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- Canadian Cousins
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- Crossing the Pond