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Old 03-29-2020, 01:35 PM
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MKW MKW is offline
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Default Having trouble finding maps

As stated, I am having a hard time find any old maps of areas near me. I have tried the online map places that I know of with almost zero success. I've tried historic aerials and historic mapworks and can't find anything older than 1962.
Frustrating. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-29-2020, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by MKW View post
As stated, I am having a hard time find any old maps of areas near me. I have tried the online map places that I know of with almost zero success. I've tried historic aerials and historic mapworks and can't find anything older than 1962.
Frustrating. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Hello MKW,

I hear you frustration. I am a bit of a maps geek and have found plenty of free on-line map sources that you may have already searched, or not...

Try any of the following; I use these frequently:

https://livingatlas.arcgis.com/topoexplorer/index.html

https://loc.gov/maps/collections/

https://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/maps/

You may have to be a bit creative when searching these sites, especially if you are searching for maps related to a specific small town. You may have to search by county or by the name of a nearby big city. For example, I live on a small island off the coast of Maine. I can enter my town in the USGS database and get some old topos going back to around 1904 -- the oldest they have of my area. For older maps, I search the Library of Congress, and instead of looking for maps of my town, I search for maps by county and region. In my case that's Hancock County, and "East Penobscot Bay", or "West Penobscot Bay" or some variant. With those search terms I have found detailed maps of my area going back to the late-1700's. With those maps I have been able to accurately locate some long-forgotten Colonial-era cellar holes. If you live in a coastal area as I do, many of the navigation charts from the 1700's and 1800's give some great data even inland as much as 5 miles around port cities. These old nautical charts can also be found at the sites mentioned.

Most of these on-line maps are available as .pdr or .jpg files. Download the largest file size you can find for best resolution. I have been collecting maps of my area and learned how to overlay them (with variable transparency) over a Google Earth image. I can 'flip' back and forth between map images and the Google Earth image to help locate homesteads, etc. If you want to really dive down the rabbit hole, You can learn how to use a Geographic Information System (GIS) to overlay maps and GPS data... I use a free GIS program called "QGIS" -- lots of simple how-to videos on YouTube. During this 'lock-down' period, I am leaning to use LIDAR images, free from the USGS, in conjunction with old maps to locate cellar holes, etc. The process has a bit of a leaning curve, but is well worth the effort. The LIDAR imagery strips away all the tree and shrub cover and reveals the true terrain profile. With a bit of observational practice and comparison with your old maps, cellar holes, old foundations, long-forgotten trails and dirt roads just 'pop' out of the image. In a week or so, I plan to post my experience with LIDAR imagery on this forum.

Hope I haven't blathered on too long, and hope I've added some information that is useful to you.

Be well, stay safe, happy hunting,
--Bert
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Old 03-29-2020, 09:26 PM
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Kwerky Kwerky is offline
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If you are looking for old homesteads, I have had luck online researching for old “plat” maps. Not sure about your state, but here in Michigan the plat maps are put together by county, with a page for each township. They show home locations, roads and often churches and cemeteries. Local historical groups, google and libraries are a great resource. I also found a book on amazon for my county that shows all the original land “patent” purchasers of the land with multiple maps for each township. Through these routes I have been able to gather original purchasers, 1858 plat map, 1874 plat map, 1894 plat, 1911 plat and 1919 plats.
Good luck

Tom

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Old 03-30-2020, 12:01 AM
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Here's 3,600 maps of S.C. for you to look through: https://dp.la/search?q=South+Carolina+map

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Old 03-30-2020, 11:49 AM
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Look up old atlases for your county. Try the county engineers office online. Plat maps old surveys.

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Old 03-30-2020, 12:30 PM
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I will check them all out.
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