If your genealogy research is in the United States, the following is a useful (free!) tool to explore: The Atlas of Historical County Borders (found on the website of The Newberry Library of Chicago – worth a visit on its own) can help you identify how changes in county borders may have an impact on where you seek out your genealogy records.
The website provides interactive maps for all states in the US. If you click on the state of particular interest, you can then select a time-frame. The county configuration from that time will then show up on the map, overlaid on the current county structure.
Several additional map layers are provided, including modern county seats, unsuccessful county proposals, modern county boundaries, and state boundaries. Each of these layers can be toggled on or off by the user.
This allows you to plug a date into the map of a state and immediately see in what county that community was located in that time-frame. Many genealogy records are located by county and given how often counties changed during the formative years of the United States, it can be very confusing to try to identify the right county without a tool like this one.
On a different not – if you are a user of the Curtis Genealogy Room, please feel free to participate in the 10 Days 100 Great Ideas Project going on right now at Curtis Library. We are collecting community input about the library and it would be great to get feedback from our local genealogists also. If you would like to participate, feel free to do so online on the library’s website – you’ll see the link to the 10 Days project there.Each day we post a specific question but feel free to ignore that and just tell us what resources would be helpful in the Genealogy Room.
Thanks and happy research!