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Contents

Overview

Maps are important for locating the places where your ancestors lived. They help you see the neighboring towns and geographic features of the area your ancestor came from. Maps show places, geographical features, transportation routes, and proximity to other towns. Historical maps are especially useful for understanding boundary changes.

Types of Maps

Maps are published separately or in atlases: bound collections of maps. They may also be in gazetteers, guidebooks, local histories, and history texts. Maps give many kinds of information:

Historical atlases describe the growth and development of countries. They show boundaries, migration routes, land owners, settlement patterns, military campaigns, and other historical information. Atlasas for more localized regional and localized areas, and topographical maps give good county and land information.

Local Maps for Russia and Localities Within Russia

  • City maps with street names and political ward boundaries are extremely helpful when researching large cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg.
  • Map of the current Federation of Russia which covers 11 time zones.
  • Maps of historic Russia.
  • Map of Russia’s Ethnic Republics

Family History Library Books (FHL INTL Book)

Russia in maps: a history of the geographical study and cartography of the country 947 E7pa

The Jews of Russia: their history in maps and photographs 947 F2gma

A map history of Russia 947 H3cb

A Keyword search of the FamilySearch Catalog for “maps of Russia” yielded 330 titles.

  • Maps of the Russian guberniyas (provinces) can be found here. All the maps were created from 1820–26. The descriptions are in Russian so use a browser translation tool to translate the page into your native tongue.

Note About Mid-20th Century Maps of Russia

Beginning in the early 1950s, the so-called 'Cold War' began, and Russian maps produced by the Soviet Union from about that time until the early 1990s had many intentional errors placed in them.  The primary intent of these errors was to throw off and confuse military targeting and planning had the 'cold war' become a real war,  

The usual problem with these maps was the localities were shifted five or more miles from where they actually were.  So if a locality was five miles from another locality, it is entirely possible that it would actually appear where a different locality actually was.  But the shift did not happen in the same direction for all localities, one might be shifted to the east, the other the south, and maybe another one to the west.  And it was not always five miles either, it might be a greater or lesser distance.  

For this reason, maps from this era may need to be compared with either pre-1950 maps or post 1990s maps and satellite images to confirm the location of places during that time period.  This is also true for any of the nations that were satellites of the Soviet Union during the same time period.

   


 

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  • This page was last modified on 18 July 2014, at 22:38.
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