Sunday, February 28, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy: Online Map Collections

Week 8: Discover online map collections. Historical maps are wonderful tools for historical research. Fortunately for genealogists, many map collections are located online. Some of the more prominent collections are the American Memory Collection at the Library of Congress, the David Rumsey Map Collection, and the Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection at the University of Texas at Austin. Take some time to browse each of these collections. You may also want to check the library web site of your local university (or one near your ancestral home) to see what maps they have online. If you have a genealogy blog, write about any special maps you find during this activity.

Figuring that a lot of folks doing this challenge would be looking at the collections Amy suggested, I decided to focus on online map collections of local universities. Unfortunately, my university doesn't have such a collection (I should know, I'm in charge of our physical maps), but the nearby University of Texas at Arlington does. Cartographic Connections was a grant-funded project in 2000 to put over 70 mostly-Texas maps from the university's extensive collection online, with tips for teachers on how to use 46 of the maps in the classroom. The virtual library is searchable with tips and sample searches available.

Another great resource is the Portal to Texas History, based at the University of North Texas in Denton. They have over 1350 maps in their growing digital collections, and a number of educator resources. Finally, there is the Texas TIDES (Teaching, Images, and Digital Experiences) project based at Stephen F. Austin State University in Huntsville. They have about 100 maps in their digital collections, and numerous lesson plans using these and other primary source documents.

[52 Weeks to Better Genealogy was developed by my friend Amy of We Tree and is hosted by]

© Amanda Pape - 2010

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