Old Historical State, County and City Maps of Pennsylvania

Maps of Pennsylvania

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

Before statehood it was the Province of Pennsylvania. The State of Pennsylvania was created as the 2nd state on December 12, 1787. States bordering Pennsylvania  are New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Ohio and West Virginia.

Several types of maps are useful for genealogists. Most of the courthouses in Pennsylvania can supply maps of county roads. Manuscript collections, county histories, and county atlases also contain older Pennsylvania maps.

Some of those collections can be found in the following locations: Historical Society of PennsylvaniaPennsylvania State LibraryFree Library of PennsylvaniaCarnegie Library at PittsburghPennsylvania State Archives.

City directories sometimes contain maps of those cities. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission also has a useful map available to researchers. That map shows how the counties developed in the Commonwealth. Warrantee maps from 24 Pennsylvania counties are available at the Pennsylvania State Archives, and copies can also be found in each county recorder of deeds office, as well as at the Pennsylvania State Library.

Map of Pennsylvania state designed in illustration with the counties and the county seats
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Map of Pennsylvania state designed in illustration with the counties and the county seats

Any Historical Pennsylvania Map can indicate who owned specific property in the state and which towns held the county seat at the time.  This information is a valuable starting point for your research pointing you to the right location of records.

Solving Research Problems with a Pennsylvania Maps – If you have started your family research, you might have experienced trouble with trying to identify Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania historic maps were usually commissioned by the county seat, they often display information about the county, including town names. Reading a Pennsylvania 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 in Pennsylvania.

Choosing the Best Pennsylvania 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.

Map of Pennsylvania County Formations 1673-1878

This Interactive Map of Pennsylvania Counties show the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county, extinct county and unsuccessful county proposal from the creation of Pennsylvania in 1673-1878. Pennsylvania contains 67 counties

Pennsylvania County Map Formation by Year

Pennsylvania 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. Ad – Adams
  10. Al – Allegheny
  11. Ar – Armstrong
  12. Bea – Beaver
  13. Bed – Bedford
  14. Ber – Berks
  15. Bl – Blair
  16. Br – Bradford
  17. Buc – Bucks
  18. But – Butler
  19. Car – Carbon
  1. Cbr – Cambria
  2. Cen – Centre
  3. Ch – Chester
  4. Cla – Clarion
  5. Cle – Clearfield
  6. Cli – Clinton
  7. Co – Columbia
  8. Cr – Crawford
  9. Crn – Cameron
  10. Cu – Cumberland
  11. Da – Dauphin
  12. De – Delaware
  13. Elk – Elk
  14. Er – Erie
  15. Fa – Fayette
  16. Fo – Forest
  17. Fr – Franklin
  18. Fu – Fulton
  19. Gr – Greene
  1. Hu – Huntingdon
  2. In – Indiana
  3. Je – Jefferson
  4. Ju – Juniata
  5. Lac – Lackawanna
  6. Lan – Lancaster
  7. Law – Lawrence
  8. Leb – Lebanon
  9. Leh – Lehigh
  10. Lu – Luzerne
  11. Ly – Lycoming
  12. McK – McKean
  13. Me – Mercer
  14. Mi – Mifflin
  15. Mro – Monroe
  16. Mtr – Montour
  17. Mty – Montgomery
  18. Nhn – Northampton
  19. Nud – Northumberland
  1. Pe – Perry
  2. Ph – Philadelphia
  3. Pi – Pike
  4. Po – Potter
  5. Sc – Schuylkill
  6. Sn – Snyder
  7. So – Somerset
  8. Sul – Sullivan
  9. Sus – Susquehanna
  10. Ti – Tioga
  11. Un – Union
  12. Ve – Venango
  13. War – Warren
  14. Was – Washington
  15. Way – Wayne
  16. We – Westmoreland
  17. Wy – Wyoming
  18. Yor – York

Old Historical Atlas Maps of Pennsylvania

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

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

External Pennsylvania Map Links

Pennsylvania County Map of Road and Highway’s

The Pennsylvania D.O.T. Highway Department has prepared a series of 2016 county road maps. These maps contain more detailed information about man-made features than the geological survey maps. In addition to roads and boundaries, these maps include rural communities, churches, and cemeteries.

These maps are downloadable and are in PDF format. The main use of these are the locations of all known cemeteries in a county and of course the various roads and church locations. These Maps are Free to Download

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