News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 28, 2013

Genalogy: Maps a great help in researching family history

Tamie Dehler
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Maps are always a great help to genealogists, and indeed are often vitally necessary for our understanding of family history. Here are several map sites that should be of interest to anyone doing research in Indiana or Illinois.

First, are the animated county formation maps. These are located at

maps for Indiana and

maps for Illinois. Click to start the presentation, and it will take you through a year-by-year illustration of the changes in each of the state’s county boundaries. Or, click on a specific year to see what the map looked at in that time. Click on a link for a specific county and get even more information about its formation.

Next is a wonderful and extensive collection of historical maps hosted by the University of Alabama. Visit


indiana/index.html for Indiana or


illinois/index.html for Illinois.

The site shows dozens of historical maps of the entire state as well of its individual counties. Click on the picture to get an interactive page where you can zoom in and out and pan up, down, left or right.

Another site to go along with these two map sites is Pam Rietsch’s 1895 Atlas site, part of which has an index to Indiana or Illinois cities and towns. These can be found at for Indiana and

Index for Illinois. Information included is the name of the city or town in 1895, its population, county where located, and whether it had a post office, railroad, or express office. Also at the site are 1895 state and county maps.

The Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection at the University of Texas has many historical maps of the United States and North America. These include maps showing the early traces and roads across the country, migration pathways, routes taken by various expeditions, maps showing the original territories of Indian tribes, exploration and settlement routes for different periods of time, and maps of US cities. Visit

histus.html#growth.html to check these out.

Finally, the Newberry Library of Chicago offers interactive state maps showing the historical formation of each state’s counties. The user can set a date for the map to show what the county boundaries were like on that date. To view and utilize the Indiana map, visit hist

website/Indiana/viewer.htm. For the Illinois map, go to historical-county.newberry.



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In August, there will be a special Wabash Valley Genealogy Society presentation by Robert Johnson, titled “How to Research Southern and Eastern States.” This will be from 6:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 12 in the Vigo County Public Library. This is open to members and the public alike.

The Southern California Genealogical Society is offering recordings of the sessions from their recent 2013 Jamboree, as well as from their previous 2011 and 2012 conferences, at the web site www.myconferenceresource.

com/default.aspx. Simply click on “conferences” to go to a listing — some of which have nothing to do with genealogy. Look for the SCGS Jamborees. Also at the site are the 2010, 2011, and 2012 conferences of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. After you choose a specific conference, you have the option of downloading items of interest, at a cost. You can purchase individual sessions or the entire conference by ordering MP3 audio files, or a DVD video.