There is something magical about maps. Every type of map has a story to tell. They transport you to a place you’ve never seen, from the ocean depths to the surface of another planet. Maps are time machines, too. They can take you into the past to see the world as people saw it centuries ago, or they can show you a place you know intimately as it existed before you came along.
You don’t need to be a cartographer to know that maps are everywhere. The need for maps hasn’t ever been greater. Most people use maps every day and they want them to go beyond functional. No matter whether it’s getting simple directions or detecting climate patterns, people want maps in order to fully understand things.
Maps are actually the life blood of the discovery of the world. Since its simple beginnings, maps have achieved new ways to examine the world we live in. Modern day maps are a great platform to mix different details and ideas easily.
The beauty of mapping and cartography continues to change tremendously and new options for joining together knowledge with geography are a fun and imaginative way for you to explore history, science, geography, traditions, ideas, and many others.
What is a Map?
Simply defined, a map is a symbolic representation of selected characteristics of a place on the the World’s surface. Maps are one of the most important tools researchers, cartographers, students and others can use to examine the entire world or a specific part of it.
Maps present information about the world in a simplistic visual way. By showing by showing shapes and sizes of countries, distances between places and locations of features They teach about the world we live in.
Mapping your Ancestry
Maps are an excellent source to help you investigate your family tree. Historical maps can indicate who owned specific property in the state and which towns held the county seat at the time.
Being familiar with the area in which an ancestor lived is essential to family history research. By using vintage maps, you can learn more about the name, location, and history of the city or town in which your ancestors lived. This information is a valuable starting point for your research pointing you to the right location of records.
This, in turn, can help you uncover new record sources for your ancestors. A number of different maps may be useful in your family history research, depending upon your specific research needs and goals.
Solving Research Problems with Maps
If you have started your family research, you might have experienced trouble with trying to identify city borders and names that have changed over the course of time.
This can make it difficult to understand where your ancestors’ information is kept. Because historical maps were usually commissioned by the county seat, they often display information about the county, including town names. Reading a map from the time period you are researching can help tremendously in solving these problems by leading you to the correct town records.
It can also give you other leads, such as the location of city directories or old post offices.
Choosing the Best Map
If you have a large source of maps to choose from, try starting with the area where your ancestors resided and looking for the maps with the most detail. You can determine a lot by seeing if the area was still rural or more developed, and how far it was to the nearest city.
This can shed light on your family’s lifestyle and occupation. Were they farmers who lived in the country, or merchants who traveled often to a nearby city? A map can give you an idea of what occupations were possible.
Researching Beyond Maps
Once you have some basic details from your map research, you can use it to search through other historical sources. You can often find details about births, deaths, and marriages at the local library.
By reading obituaries or news articles that might be stored on microfilm, you can find the names of other family members or insights into your relative’s daily work or community involvement.
US Maps are a Great Starting Point
The most overwhelming aspect of researching family history is deciding where to start. However, getting started is the key. Each piece of history that you uncover offers new leads as your family’s story takes shape.
State Maps are an excellent resource to start your journey. The basic information about borders and towns can save you time by directing you to the correct records to begin your investigation.
The work gets easier and more interesting as you follow each lead and learn more about the background of your own story. The value of preserving your family history for future generations is immeasurable.
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