Family History Fanatics
11 Free Online Historical Maps Websites for Genealogy Research
If genealogy is about time and place, then accessing maps is a must for serious researchers. Once you can see where your ancestor lived, you can understand how transportation technology and geographical features impacted decisions in their lives.
Frugal genealogists will love accessing maps online for FREE.
How to Find Maps For Genealogy Research
The fastest way to find maps for genealogy research involves "Googling it!"
Two search queries you'll want to try are:
“Historical maps [region/country]”
“Historical maps [regions/country] [year]”
Pro-Tip: You don't need to use quotation marks and brackets when you type in your search.
For example, you could try
Historical maps Baden, Germany
Historical maps Baden, German 1848
In the video, I share which URLs to follow for free maps that you find using Google. Quick hint: You might need to pass through Pinterest to access the maps.
Where To Find Free Online Historical Maps
Channel your inner cartographer and explorer by accessing these FREE online historical maps websites.
Google Maps– Understand distances between locations and where cities are in the modern world.
Internet Archives - Type in "map" of [location] in the search bar. This archive has everything including free historical maps. To learn how to research on the Internet Archive, read this blog post.
David Rumsey’s Historical Maps - a great resource to find maps from around the world.
The US Library of Congress - don't just look for city maps, look for rail lines, migration routes, and more.
Sanborn Maps - These unique maps were created to help assess fire insurance liabilities. You can learn more about a building structure, along with where your ancestor's lived. Check out Lisa Louise Cooks' training on Sanborn maps to improve your skills.
To see how to access these maps, watch this video.
More Places to Find Free Historical Maps Online
Google Earth - Take your map research to the next level by overlaying historical maps on modern maps. Learn how through this training.
The Newberry Library Atlas of Historical County Boundaries – County boundaries changed, and this website helps you trace those changes.
National Library of Scotland – Explore the Scottish map collection online. (To learn more about Scottish research, watch this video.)
Old-Maps.co.uk– For anyone with English, Scottish, and Welsh ancestor, this map collection is a must-view resource.
To Learn More About Maps for Genealogy Research
My colleagues have a wealth of tips about finding online maps, check out their blog posts below.
5 Ways to Use Online Historical Maps for Genealogy by Family Tree Magazine
Finding & Using Maps in Your Genealogy Research by Legacy Family Tree
Maps and Family History: Early United States Maps We Love by Legacy Tree Genealogists
Mapping Your Ancestry With Google Maps from Though Co.
Create a Research Map with Google My Maps by Family History Fanatics
These Old Fire Insurance Maps Reveal a Surprising Amount of Genealogy Data by Family History Daily