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2 Mar 2017

Atlas of Historical County Boundaries at Newberry.org

From the Newberry Library, a wonderful research tool for genealogists researching U.S. locations: the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries at Newberry.org. A project of the William M. Scholl Center for American History and Culture at The Newberry Library in Chicago, the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries is a powerful historical research and reference tool in electronic form. The Atlas presents in maps and text complete data about the creation and all subsequent changes (dated to the day) in the size, shape, and location of every county in the fifty United States and the District of Columbia. It also includes non-county areas, unsuccessful authorizations for new counties, changes in county names and organization, and the temporary attachments of non-county areas and unorganized counties to fully functioning counties. The principal sources for these data are the most authoritative available: the session laws of the colonies, territories, and states that created and changed [...]

3 Feb 2017

Searching the Historic American Buildings Survey

HABS team in 1934 measuring the Kentucky School for the Blind. (Courtesy HABS, Library of Congress) Interested in searching the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) to find a connection between an ancestor and a specific place? HABS was established in 1933 when Charles E. Peterson, a young landscape architect proposed the project. It was initially founded as a "constructive make-work program for architects, draftsmen and photographers left jobless by the Great Depression. By creating an archive of historic architecture, HABS provided a database of primary source material and documentation for the then-fledgling historic preservation movement." Today, a division of the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) administers HABS, the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), and the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS). Records include "556,900 measured drawings, large-format photographs, and written histories for more than 38,600 historic structures and sites dating from Pre-Columbian times to the twentieth century." The collection is managed by the [...]

4 Nov 2016

U.S. Immigration Interactive Map 1880-2000

A fascinating U.S. Immigration Interactive Map 1880-2000, Immigration Explorer, is available online at The New York Times. Both a research tool and a way to understand more about your immigrant ancestors, the map is highly customizable. As you can see in the image above, you can select from various countries to see how each settled across the United States each decade between 1880 and 2000. Data are available at the county and state levels for immigrants from these and other countries: All foreign-born Canada Czechoslovakia England France Germany Ireland Italy Japan Norway Poland Spain Sweden Russia I love maps like these because I remain fascinated by my own immigrant ancestors, who left Norway, Sweden, Prussia, Austria, and Scotland, to come to Chicago during the Second Wave of U.S. Immigration. The push-pull factors for my ancestors migration were pretty evenly split between poverty and joining siblings who had already come to America. This map [...]

18 Aug 2016

Free Aerial Photography Resource for Genealogists

The ASPRS Aerial Data Catalog is a free aerial photography resource for genealogists to use in their research. Provided by the American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), this is a useful tool for locating aerial photography for both U.S. and international geographic areas of the past and the present. ASPRS bills this database as "the Source for Finding Aerial Collections". The ASPRS Aerial Data Catalog aggregates aerial photography from private companies, universities, states, non-governmental organizations, and federal sources. The catalog contains metadata allowing users to determine if coverage exists over an area of interest. The acquisition date, film type, sensor type, and scale are also provided along with the repository contact information. Click here for more information. Once you have located a set of records, you can narrow a search by applying a filter once, or multiple times, to refine your search. If you need assistance, please check the Help page for more tips. Here are some of the latest uploads [...]