Follow Friday –

Today’s Follow Friday post is about a site called Collaborative Genealogy & History. I discovered it recently when I was trying to puzzle out two cemeteries in Cook County in Illinois called Oak Hill.

Histopolis not only helped me figure out the correct cemetery and provided a Google map, but it also delivered a township name (very important in the Midwest), GSP coordinates, nearby cities, and nearby cemeteries. Double-click on the image below to see a screenshot of my search result.

I think is an incredibly well done aggregator site. When you search on Histopolis, it fetches data from these sources:

•    Board on Geographic Names (BGN), USGS
•    Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing system (TIGER), US Census Bureau
•    User Data sassy jane genealogy

The example I used above was for a cemetery, but Histopolis also provides information on virtually any geographic location in the United States and Puerto Rico. This information on Truro Township in Knox County, Illinois, would have been so helpful when I was planning my trip there last spring.

The site is supported by advertising and donations, so it’s free to users. You can search without registering, but if you want to contribute information, you need to set up a free account.

Another thing I like about Histopolis is that the 350,000 names in its database are arranged using a place hierarchy, working from states to counties to townships, districts and towns. While it’s not necessary to understand how Histopolis organizes its data, a visit to that page can help you construct effective search strategies.

Obviously I’m quite taken with Histopolis. Give it a try!

About the Author:

Nancy Loe has an MA in American History and an MLS in Library Science and Archives. She has appeared on PBS’s American Experience, at Rootstech, SCGS Jamboree, and state and regional genealogy conferences. Her website was featured in Family Tree Magazine's “Social Media Mavericks: 40 to Follow.”


  1. Sassy Jane Genealogy 11 December 2010 at 5:32 PM - Reply

    You’re both very welcome. I wish it were available for Europe and Scandinavia!

  2. Greta Koehl 10 December 2010 at 8:19 PM - Reply

    Excellent recommendation – thanks for the tip!

  3. Jen 10 December 2010 at 7:30 AM - Reply

    Very cool site! I will have to explore it for my Chicago research.

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