I don't have many ancestral families that owned land in the Public Land Survey System states, but I do have at least two. I was curious to see where the plot of land for my 3rd-great-grandfather Samuel Vaux was located in Andrew County, Missouri. I have two deeds (one a grantor in 1869 and the other a grantee in 1880) that identify it as the southeast quarter of the southeast quadrant of Section 21 in Township 61N Range 33W. With that as a guideline, I went to the www.Earthpoint.us/townships/aspx website and entered the location into the search fields provided (two screens below):
The search fields had drop down menus that made it easy to select from once I put the State and Township Number in first.
I clicked on the "View" button and got this information:
The geographic location, in latitude and longitude, of the corners of the section are defined in the screen above, along with the size of the section (647 acres).
But now I wanted to see the plot of land as it currently stands - to determine the roads it is bounded by, and if there is a house or farm on the 40 acres owned by my Vaux ancestors. To do this, I had to download Google Earth from http://earth.google.com/ - that was fairly easy to do, and after testing it, I was ready to use it.
The screen above has a button for "Fly To on Google Earth" so I clicked on it, and a little "Fly To" program had to be downloaded. Then Google Earth opened in a separate window and quickly zoomed in on the Section and Township, as shown below:
The township is outlined in orange, and the Section is outlined in magenta in the screen above. I could not zoom in any further on Google Earth. I went the next step, and found the icon on the menu row of Google Earth that says "View in Google Maps" (it's the right-most icon above the map).
I clicked on that icon, and Google Maps opened and took me right to the map for that location:
But wait - I've lost the section and township outline, so I went back and figured out on Google Earth that Empire Prairie was just to the left of the section I'm interested in, so I came back to the Google Map and zoomed in a bit to see Empire Prairie and the Section just to the left of the location:
The Southeast quadrant of the Southeast quarter of Section 21 is right in the corner of the Section. I zoomed in again to the maximum possible magnification and saw:
There are several buildings on that 40 acres of land, which has its southeast corner where County Road 115 (east-west) and County Road 242 (north-south) intersect. The location is about one mile north of Missouri Highway 48, and about five miles west of King City. I wonder who lives there, and if the farmhouse is the one bought by my Vaux ancestors?
Isn't this site really useful? And it is FREE!!!
If you want to use this site to look for the current location of land owned by your ancestors, go to www.earthpoint.us/Townships.aspx and input your land description, download Google Earth if you need to, and then you are set to go.
Thank you to Rick and Pam Sayre for the exposure to this website and capability. This is just one of many things I learned at the FGS Conference - I will have more to come!
Where would we be without Google Maps and Google Earth? We have amazing technology these days that make out job much easier!