Saturday, July 28, 2007

Don't Forget Historic Maps in Your Mississippi Genealogical Studies

There are many components to a well-rounded genealogical study as mere dates and names alone do not tell much about the ancestors in a database. I have always been a student of history and always include historical research in my genealogical pursuits in order to tell the story of my ancestors. One component in my genealogical studies is the pursuit of old maps where my ancestors lived. Maps can tell volumes of information. They can show county boundaries for certain dates, can show towns, villages, post offices, rivers and streams. It is always a treat to pinpoint the location on a map where an ancestor lived.

The Itawamba Historical Society has two historic maps in its online archives. One is an 1891 Cram’s Mississippi Map and the other is an 1891 Indian Cession Map of Mississippi. An excellent site for contemporary Mississippi county maps, showing sections, townships and ranges is the Mississippi Department of Transportation. They have excellent detailed maps in PDF format for every county in Mississippi. An excellent site for historic Mississippi maps, is the University of Alabama’s Alabama Maps site. They have both historic and contemporary maps of not only Mississippi, but many states as well. Their historic Mississippi map collection is wonderful.

Another most excellent online collection of historic maps is the David Rumsey Historic Map Collection. The David Rumsey Collection was started nearly 20 years ago, and focuses primarily on cartography of the Americas from the 18th and 19th centuries, but also has maps of the World, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania. The collection includes atlases, globes, school geographies, books, maritime charts, and a variety of separate maps, including pocket, wall, children's and manuscript.Their fascinating site has thousands of historic maps, including 83 historic Mississippi maps. Be sure to visit their online Mississippi Collection.

Remember to never forget map research in your genealogical studies. Such a study is an important component to a well-rounded genealogical study.

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