Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Planning for my visit to Dane County, Wisconsin

After writing Planning for my visit to Dodge County, Wisconsin, I started working on planning to visit Dane County, Wisconsin (two counties southwest of Dodge County). 

I want to do research at the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison, looking for information about my Smith and Vaux families of Dodge County, but also information about my wife's Severson/Leland and Erikson/Natvig families that immigrated from Norway in the 1850s and settled in Deerfield and Cottage Grove towns, respectively. 

I had hopes that the homes might still be standing, so I needed to find out where the two families resided.  Fortunately, has plat maps for 1873, 1890, 1899 and 1911 for Dane county and I easily found the maps for the two towns. 

Here is the town map of Dane County from 1873:

Cottage Grove town is two towns east of Madison, and Deerfield is three towns east of Madison.

The map of Deerfield from 1873 is shown below :

Looking carefully, I found T. Severson (Torger Sjurson) in Section 23 (three up, two over from the lower right-hand corner of the map above).  His land is the Southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 23.  This map page says that Deerfield town is Township 7 North, Range 12 East of the 4th Principal Meridian in Wisconsin. 

So how can I find that place on a current map?  I used Google Maps to see the road map and the satellite map for the area, but could not figure out exactly where the land was because the roads are different now than they were in the plat maps. 

I recalled attending Pam Sayre's class at FGS 2009, and Lisa Louise Cooke's class at Jamboree in 2010 about using Earthpoint and Google Earth to define the location of the Section.  I wrote about it in Using Google Earth to find land location in the Public Land Survey System States in 2009.

I knew the section description, so I went to the page for Township and Range - Public Land Survey System on Google Earth and entered the Section information, then clicked on the "Fly To on Google Earth" button, and saw:

Section 23 is outlined in magenta in the screen above.  I zoomed in to the Section and saw:

Fortunately, you can see some of the outlines of the 40 acre plots from the survey, especially in the Southeast quarter.  Zooming in some more to the Southeast quarter:

There's a house on this property in the current satellite map.  It is on North Fair Oak Road, just south of Fair Oak Road and north of London Road.

I found the Erikson/Natvig property in Cottage Grove too, and one of the roads through the current property is called Natvig Road.  However, there does not appear to be a house on the property now.

The 1890 plat map of Deerfield indicates that the property was owned by by C. Kufahl in 1890 (SE quarter of SE quarter, 40 acres), by Wm. Kufahl in 1899 (now S half of SE quarter, 80 acres), by Wm. Kufahl in 1904 (S half of SE quarter, 80 acres), and by Wm. Keufahl in 1911 (S half of SE quarter, 80 acres).

It appears that Torger Severson (later Torger Leland after the family adopted the Leland name before 1880) sold the property before 1890.  T. Leland and O. Leland are listed with the London post office on the 1890 plat map. 

Aren't these online tools cool? 


Unknown said...

My ancestor died in the town of Dunkirk in 1867. I was poking around in Ancestry looking for these plat maps but came up dumb Can you point me to where to find them? I searched the card catalog to no avail.

GeneJ said...

Hi Tim,

My ancestors hail from this general area. There is a website for the rural town of Dunkirk. Perhaps this is the right town?

One of the web pages has a wonderful map.

The address of the town, from the website, is below

Town of Dunkirk
654 County Road N
Stoughton, WI 53589

I'd have to double check, but believe the place Stoughton is among those in my database.

Unknown said...

My ancestors apparently lived in Stoughton as well as Dunkirk. Is there an easy way to find those plat maps on I am curious if any of the family is still listed in Dunkirk in 1873, assuming that that plat map is available. I've found Illinois plat maps in the past, but forget now exactly where they are located.

Randy Seaver said...

Tim, the Ancestry database is U.S., Indexed County Land Ownership Maps, 1860-1918 (

They're great!

I just search Wisconsin Maps and find this.

Unknown said...

much oblidged

RBrass189 said...

Sounds like a good plan to visit Dane County. Dane is actually adjacent to Dodge County in the northwest corner of the county. In the Town of York (which is what would be known as York township in most of the country).

As for maps, I've found that USGS topo's are the best way to see townships and sections. I use a freeware program called USA photomaps to look at topos, which take a little to get used to. You can use google maps to look at USGS topos if you access it via USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). The topos show the township names and the section lines as well as the section numbers if you zoom in all the way.

Here is the link to the Town of Deerfield zoom in quite a bit then click "Topo" to see the lines.

Good luck on your trip.

RBrass189 said...

Whoops, I meant northeast corner of Dane county....

OLA said...
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OLA said...
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Ralph C. Kiefer said...

When I was searching for the Dane County Property Assessment document, it helps me to know a lot about the property in Dane County. It seems like some people are migrated from in the early 50s and this is why there may have a time to calculation but you map helps in there.