Skip Navigation
DNR - Department of Natural Resources | DNR Department of Natural Resources | DNR
Department of Natural Resources | DNR
Email this Page
Share this Link on Facebook
Tweet this page on Twitter!

Maps and Atlases in Genealogical Research

Abrams Collection Genealogy Highlights
July/August 2001
Volume 3, Number 4

Finding Aids
Genealogical and Historical Resources
State and County Atlases
Fire Insurance Maps
Gazetteers and Place Name Dictionaries
Internet Resources

Maps provide invaluable historical, physical and cultural information to researchers, as they help identify towns, property ownership, railroads, family farms, local cemeteries and schoolhouses. The Library of Michigan maintains a large collection of maps and atlases that can be used for Michigan historical and genealogical research.

Titles may be located by searching ANSWER, the Library's online catalog. The easiest way to locate map or atlas resources on ANSWER is to enter the place name or subject as a keyword, followed by the word maps. Here are some additional suggestions to help maximize your search results; clicking on the links in this publication will take you to the ANSWER catalog search results or the catalog record for a particular item:

Adding a specific geographic location will also help refine your search. For example, michigan maps and kalamazoo will retrieve materials that focus on the city or county of Kalamazoo. When searching by keyword, it is not necessary to capitalize proper nouns.

This publication is not intended to be a comprehensive bibliography of map resources. Rather, it is a list of notable documents available at the Library of Michigan. Searching ANSWER is the only way to determine if the Library of Michigan holds the resources that you seek.

Finding Aids

Barnett, LeRoy, comp. Checklist of Printed Maps of the Middle West to 1900, Vol. 5: Michigan. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1981.
Michigan Z 6027 .U5 C34z Vol. 5

Karpinski, Louis C. Bibliography of the Printed Maps of Michigan, 1804-1880. Lansing: Michigan Historical Commission, 1931.
Michigan Documents Z 6027 .M62 K2 1931

Le Gear, Clara Egli, comp. United States Atlases: A List of National, State, County, City and Regional Atlases in the Library of Congress. 2 vols. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1950.
Genealogy Z 881 .U5 1950at

Miles, William, comp. Michigan Atlases and Plat Books: A Checklist, 1872-1973. Lansing: Michigan Department of Education, 1975.
Michigan Documents GA 431 .M65 1975

Stephenson, Richard W., comp. Land Ownership Maps: A Checklist of Nineteenth Century United States County Maps in the Library of Congress. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1967.
U.S. Documents Reference LC 5.2: L 22

Top of Page

Genealogical and Historical Resources

Andriot, Jay, comp. Township Atlas of the United States. McLean, VA: Documents Index, 1991.
Genealogy G 1201 .F7 A5 1991
Housed at the Genealogy Desk.

Modelski, Andrew. Railroad Maps of North America: The First Hundred Years. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1984.
U.S. Documents Reference LC 5.2: R 13/2

Sinko, Peggy Tuck, comp. Atlas of Historical County Boundaries: Michigan. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1997.
Michigan G 1201 .F7 A8 1993 Mich
This continuing series also includes Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, New York and Wisconsin.

Thorndale, William, and William Dollarhide. Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc., 1987.
Genealogy HA 37 .U55 T453 1987
Housed at the Genealogy Desk.
County boundaries for each state by census year from 1790 to 1920.

Trygg, J. William, comp. Composite Maps of United States Land Surveyors' Original Plats and Field Notes: Michigan Series. Ely, MN: J. William Trygg, 1964.
Michigan Flat File G 4110 1847-1865 .T79 1964
Color maps detail the Old Northwest's geographic features, as outlined by the original land surveyor's field notes.

United States Geological Survey. USGS Complete Topo File: Michigan. 3 reels. Reston, VA: U.S. Geological Survey, 1976.
Genealogy Microfilm G 4111 .C2 svar G43z
Topographic maps, from 1905 to 1976, show the natural and man-made features of the land.

Top of Page

State and County Atlases

Atlas of Cass County, Michigan. 1872. Cass County Historical Society, 1977.
Michigan G 1413 .C3 L3 1977
An example of land ownership county atlases for this time period.

Canadian Historical Atlas Collection. 143 microfiches. Pontiac, MI: Pontiac Area Historical and Genealogical Society, 1988.
Genealogy Microfiche G 1148.O5 C3 1988
Land ownership atlases for Ontario counties from 1862 to 1881.

County Histories of the "Old Northwest," Series V: Michigan. 88 reels. New Haven, CT: Research Publications, 1973.
Genealogy Microfilm F 566 .C67 1973
A collection of county histories and maps and atlases, this series also includes Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania and California. Indexes are available at the Genealogy Desk.

Hinsdale, Wilbert B. Archaeological Atlas of Michigan. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1931.
Michigan F 568 .H63
Details Michigan archaeological features, including Indian mounds, sites and trails.

Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. LC G&M Land Ownership Maps: Michigan. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1983.
Genealogy Microfiche G 4111 .G46 SVAR .L5 1983
A collection of early Michigan county wall maps showing land ownership. An index is available at the Genealogy Desk.

Library of Michigan. Michigan Cemetery Atlas. Lansing: Library of Michigan, 1991.
Genealogy G 1411 .E6225 L5 1991

Michigan Atlas and Gazetteer. 7th ed. DeLorme Publishing Company, 2000.
Michigan G 1410 .D4 2000

Walling, Henry F. Atlas of Michigan. 1873. Mount Clemens: Treasure Land, 1972.
Michigan G 1410 .W27 1972

Top of Page

Fire Insurance Maps

These maps contain highly detailed information on building features, such as size and shape, construction, occupancy, and street address for more than 300 Michigan towns.

Fire Insurance Maps From the Sanborn Map Company Archives, Late 19th Century to 1990: Michigan. Bethesda, MD: University Publications of America, 1993.
Genealogy Microfilm G 1411 .G475 S3 1993
Includes Michigan towns from 1945-1992.

Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. Fire Insurance Maps in the Library of Congress: Plans of North American Cities and Towns Produced by the Sanborn Map Company. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1981.
Genealogy HG 9771 .L51 1981
U.S. Documents Reference LC 5.2: F 51

Genealogy copy is housed at the Genealogy Desk.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps: Michigan. Teaneck, N.J.: Chadwyck-Healy, 1983.
Genealogy Microfilm G 1411 .G475 S3z 1983
Includes Michigan towns from 1884-1950.

Top of Page

Gazetteers and Place Name Dictionaries

Abate, Frank R., ed. Omni Gazetteer of the United States of America. 11 vols. Detroit: Omnigraphics, Inc., 1991.
Genealogy E 154 .O45 1990

Cohen, Saul B., ed. Columbia Gazetteer of North America. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000.
Genealogy E 35 .C65 2000
Housed at Genealogy Desk.

Romig, Walter. Michigan Place Names: The History of the Founding and the Naming of More than Five Thousand Past and Present Michigan Communities. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1986.
Michigan F 564 .R6 1986
Representative of place name dictionaries for U.S. states and Canadian provinces.

Top of Page

Internet Resources

Library of Congress Map Collections
This American Memory project maintains a wide array of digitized map images, including panoramic, railroad and Civil War maps.

U.S. Gazetteer
This Census Bureau site identifies U.S. place names and provides links to 1990 census data.

Top of Page

Updated 08/02/2011