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Confused By County Boundaries? Here's Some Help


Thanks to Tami over at Relatively Curious About Genealogy for reminding me about the problem with historical county boundaries and a great FREE resource to determine the exact boundary in a given year.

In her recent blog post, Tami discusses the problems involved with trying to pin down the county boundaries for certain states. With many of my ancestors in New York, I have learned the history of county boundaries and I have been able to memorize when those boundaries shifted.

Because historical county boundaries have been such a problem, I was working on a lookup widget that people could insert into their websites and blogs which would allow you to select a state, a county and then see when it was formed and the original counties from which it was formed.

Well, The Newberry Library here in Chicago where I live has come up with a great resource called the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. The best feature is the Interactive Maps which allow you to select a year and see the boundaries for each county. And there is even a metadata section which lists Bibliography and Sources, Commentary and more.

Here is the New York map for July 4, 1776: http://historical-county.newberry.org/website/New_York/viewer.htm

© 2009 Thomas MacEntee

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Comment by Julie Cahill Tarr on July 11, 2009 at 6:19pm
Great find! Thanks for sharing!!

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