Using Maps with the Census?

Are you using a map when you search the census for your ancestor? If you don’t have appropriate, contemporary to your census problem year maps, you could easily be making mistakes or looking in places that are not quite right.

With indexes, manual searches of the census are not always necessary (but sometimes they are). Maps though, are not optional. You need to know where locations are and how they fit together. Even if you think you know the location, get a map. In fact, making assumptions about locations can create a few brick walls.

Lining out your Research

Do you know where all the lines are on the map of your ancestor’s neighborhood? Property lines, county lines, state lines, they all play a role in your family history research. These lines change over time as new territories are created, county lines are debated and finalized, and as your ancestor buys and sells property. Getting your ancestor’s maps all “lined” up may help solve your problem. And keep in mind that contemporary maps are always an excellent idea. Your ancestor probably did not live in the twenty-first century. Don’t rely completely on maps created a centry after he died.