Tuesday, June 26, 2007

US County Land Ownership Atlases on Ancestry

While reviewing the list of new databases available on www.Ancestry.com, I found the US County Land Ownership Atlases database.

These are map books of counties, usually by town, that show residence and land ownership. In other words, they show where certain people lived in relation to others, the roads, the physical features, etc.

For instance, I chose to look in Worcester County, Massachusetts. There are two map books available - for 1870 and for 1898. I chose the 1870 one, because I wanted to see if my ancestors, Edward Hildreth and Isaac Smith, owned the land in Leominster at that time.

Each county map book has an index, but the page numbers shown for the towns do not match the image numbers in the database. Leominster was listed on page 28, but actually was on images 30, 31 and 32.

On the image for the central part of Leominster, there were E. Hildreth on the west side of Lancaster Street and across the street was I. Seaver. Now I know how how Hattie Hildreth and Frank Seaver probably met - they were close neighbors!

This is a phenomenal asset for genealogy researchers. County USGenWeb sites have had some of these maps available, but there was not a central source for them.

You will probably have to search page-by-page for the township you are looking for. It seems that the order of the images doesn't correspond to the page numbers in the index, at least in the three counties I checked (in MA, IA and IN).

Unfortunately, there are no names in cities and towns with small lots. These maps are great for large plots but not so good for small lots.

There are few maps for some states - e.g., California has only Alameda (1878), Kern (1901) and Los Angeles (1903) available. There are no maps listed for NC, SC, GA, FL, AL, TN, MS, NM, AZ, WY, UT, AK and HI.

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