Old Historical State, County and City Maps of California

Maps of California

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Most historical maps of California were published in atlases. The State of California was created as the 31st state on September 9, 1850. States bordering California are  OregonNevada and Arizona.

Several other types of maps are useful for genealogists. Some give historical background of the area or show migration routes such as roads, rivers, and railroads.

Within the atlases are historical maps, illustrations, and histories many of which contain family names ideal for genealogical research.

Several books are helpful in researching the evolution of California.

  • Historical Atlas of California, available in many libraries, provides a basic map reference at different points in California’s history.
  • 1500 California Place Names: Their Origins and Meaning, is an excellent resource for named places and the history behind them.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) website offers for sale topographical maps of California.

Map of California County Formations 1850 to 1925

This Interactive Map of California Counties show the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county, extinct county and unsuccessful county proposal from the creation of California in 1850 to 1925. California contains 58 counties.

The first 18 counties created on January 4, 1850, were Benicia, Butte, Fremont, Los Angeles, Mariposa, Monterey, Mount Diablo, Oro, Redding, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Sonoma, and Sutter Counties. The last county to be formed was Imperial County in 1907.

California County Map Formation by Year

California Map Abbreviations

  1. unorg. = unorganized
  2. g. = gained
  3. w. = with
  4. fr. = from
  5. atmt. = attachment
  6. exch = exchanged
  7. nca.= non county area
  8. ch. = changed
  9. Ala – Alameda
  10. Alp – Alpine
  11. Am  – Amador
  12. But – Butte
  13. Ca  – Calaveras
  14. CC  – Contra Costa
  15. Col – Colusa
  16. Cos – Coso
  17. Csi – Colusa
  18. DN  – Del Norte
  1. ED  – El Dorado
  2. Fr  – Fresno
  3. Gl  – Glenn
  4. Hu  – Humboldt
  5. Im  – Imperial
  6. In  – Inyo
  7. Ke  – Kern
  8. Ki  – Kings
  9. Kl  – Klamath
  10. LA  – Los Angeles
  11. Lak – Lake
  12. Las – Lassen
  13. Mad – Madera
  14. Men – Mendocino
  15. Mer – Merced
  16. Mno – Mono
  17. Mnt – Monterey
  1. Mod – Modoc
  2. Mrn – Marin
  3. Mrs – Mariposa
  4. Na  – Napa
  5. Ne  – Nevada
  6. Or  – Orange
  7. Pa  – Pautah
  8. Pla – Placer
  9. Plu – Plumas
  10. Ri  – Riverside
  11. Sac – Sacramento
  12. SBr – San Bernardino
  13. SBt – San Benito
  14. SCl – Santa Clara
  15. Scr – Santa Cruz
  16. SD  – San Diego
  17. SF  – San Francisco
  18. Sh  – Shasta
  1. Sie – Sierra
  2. Sis – Siskiyou
  3. SJ  – San Joaquin
  4. SLO – San Luis Obispo
  5. SM  – San Mateo
  6. Sol – Solano
  7. Son – Sonoma
  8. St  – Stanislaus
  9. StB – Santa Barbara
  10. Su  – Sutter
  11. Te  – Tehama
  12. Tr  – Trinity
  13. Tul – Tulare
  14. Tuo – Tuolomne
  15. Ve  – Ventura
  16. Yo  – Yolo
  17. Yu  – Yuba

Old Historical Atlas Maps of California

This Historical California Map Collection are from original copies so you can see California as our ancestors saw them over a hundred years ago.

Some California map years (not all) have cities, railroads, P.O. locations, township outlines and other features useful to the California researcher.

External California Map Links

California County Map of Road and Highway's

The California D.O.T. Highway Department does not have California County Map available at this time.

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