Four Free Websites to Find Old Maps

By Diane Haddad

Plan of Cincinnati and Vicinity, S.A. Mitchell, Jr., 1860, David Rumsey Map Collection

In genealogy research, old maps can help you

  • Pinpoint the location of your ancestor’s property.
  • Follow migrating ancestors across the ocean, around the country or through the city.
  • Answer questions such as where two branches crossed to produce the next generation.
  • Figure out where a family went to school, church and the grocery store.
  • Identify potential cluster research subjects (i.e., the neighbors).
  • Understand your ancestors’ neighborhoods.

In our 5 Ways to Enhance Your Genealogy With Old Maps live webinar, happening Thursday, Dec. 12, Lisa Louise Cooke will show you the five kinds of maps you should look for and the best ways to use them to solve genealogy research problems.

In the mean time, try these four websites to find free maps of the places your ancestors lived.

  • David Rumsey Historical Map Collection: The maps and other cartographic images here focus on rare 18th- and 19th-century North American and South American materials. You can view maps, compare them side-by-side and download hi-resolution files.
  • Hargrett Library Rare Map Collection: This University of Georgia site features maps depicting the New World, Colonial and Revolutionary America, Revolutionary Georgia, Union & Expansion, the American Civil War, Frontier to New South, Savannah and the Coast and Transportation.