Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Find Pennsylvania Landowner Maps and Atlases at AncestorTracks

I received an email from Sharon MacInnes several weeks ago telling me about her efforts to post 19th century Pennsylvania landowner maps and atlases at her website, www.ancestortracks.com.  

Here is the website home page:



Here is the descriptive part of Sharon's email to me, which she has permitted me to share with my readers:

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"You've written several times about land records (for example, http://www.geneamusings.com/2013/02/finding-pennsylvania-donation-district.html) and I have a resource that will be very useful for your readers who are researching in Pennsylvania.  

"I've been posting 19-century landowner maps and atlases at my site at http://ancestortracks.com.  Scroll down to the map of Pennsylvania, hover over each county to see what I have posted, and then click to see individual pages.  All of these images are free, downloadable, "saveable," and printable.  Most of the images are photos I have taken of maps in the Library of Congress Map Division; some are from other sources, a few of which I purchased (for example, Ed Heary's warrantee map at  http://ancestortracks.com/ClearfieldCo_resources.html).  There are 67 counties in PA and I believe I have posted my own images for 56 of them and linked to outside sources for the remaining counties.  It has taken several years, but my website now covers every county in some way--it's a one-stop resource for free historical landowner maps of PA.  I have also posted links to warrantee maps held in the Pennsylvania State Archives (the Land Office only produced these maps for about 1/3 of Pennsylvania), explanations of things like the "Last Purchase" (http://ancestortracks.com/Elk_Resources.html), and particularly helpful county resources.

"The beauty of these 19-century maps is that they show many landowners at the time each map was published, plus churches, mills, etc.  Using them with census records bracketing the publication date and with 19-century county histories can really pinpoint where a PA ancestor lived.  It can suggest the closest church (and perhaps cemetery) where family records might be found.  It can show where allied families lived, and in some cases show the original patentees.   By the way, while the physical maps are in the public domain, the images I have taken belong to me and are not to be used commercially, although I give permission to use them for personal use (including illustrating a family history) as long as they are attributed to Ancestor Tracks.

"My husband and I have also published atlases showing the warrantees and patentees (first landowners) of seven PA counties, as well as a CD containing all 67 county warrant registers as pdf files (http://ancestortracks.com/warrant_registers_CD.htm), another CD with all of the patent registers as pdf files, and a third with all of the tract name registers. All of these registers are also online courtesy of the Pennsylvania State Archives, but accessing them requires an internet connection which is not always possible in, say, a courthouse.  Also, each posted page at the Archives site must be loaded separately, while our pdf files can be saved on a computer and scrolled through as books.  

"Our books and CDs, of course, are for sale, but I wanted to let you know about the free resources available on our site in case you would like to share the information."

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I encourage Pennsylvania researchers to go explore Sharon's website and availa yourselves of her services if that interests you.

My thanks to Sharon for providing these services - it is a labor of love for her and her husband - and for allowing me to share them with my readers.  


copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

3 comments:

Michigan Girl said...

Talk about a timely post, Randy. I just sent a request to the Mifflin Co, PA Historical Society requesting research assistance for my 2 brick wall 3rd & 4th great grandfathers. Can't wait to check out these maps.
Thanks,
Diane

Colleen G. Brown Pasquale said...

I have PA roots & want to check on this. Thanks for sharing!

Shannon Thomas said...

Perfect timing!! I took a quick look at Luzerne county and I found my 3rd great grandfathers land. I thought I knew about where it was and sure enough it jumped right out at me. Thanks for the great post.