Get that Map Right Out of Your Head

Do you create personalized maps of places in your ancestor’s life?

Modern maps show current things. Older maps show things as they were at the time the map was drawn. Neither map may show colloquial names for places or names that only your family used. Those names may be used in family records found in the home, the occasional newspaper item, or by a relative in a family history interview or conversation.

This is a work-in-progress map for the area where I grew up. Properties owned by my grandmother or my parents would be shown on plat books. The abandoned railroad tracks appear on maps drawn when the tracks were still being used. The rental property is not going to appear in any records under my parents’ names. The “Hennerson” place will not be called that on any map, but at least the previous owner’s last was Hendrickson which is not that far removed from the word we used to describe the place. The barn we called “Jurgen’s shed” likely does not appear on any map and so far I’ve not been able to determine where the name originated.

To improve the map, I should indicate the black numbers are section numbers and that sections 1 and 12 are in Hancock County, Illinois’ Prairie Township and sections 6 and 7 are in that same county’s Carthage Township.

Remember that the map you need may only exist in your head.