Maps are an important source to locate the places where your ancestors lived. They help you see the neighboring towns and geographic features of the area your ancestor came from.
Maps locate places, parishes, geographical features, transportation routes, and proximity to other towns.
Historical maps are especially useful for understanding boundary changes.
Maps are published individually or as an atlas. An atlas is a bound collection of maps. Maps may also be included in gazetteers, guidebooks, local histories, and history texts.
There are different types of maps that will help you in different ways. Historical atlases describe the growth and development of countries. They show boundaries, migration routes, settlement patterns, military campaigns, and other historical information. Road atlases are useful because of the detail they provide for Argentina and an alphabetical index to place names. Other types of maps include: Parish maps, Provincial atlases, topographical maps, and City/Street maps (extremely helpful when researching in large cities such as Buenos Aires).
Maps must be used carefully for several reasons:
- There are often several places with the same name.
- The spelling and even names of some towns may have changed since your ancestors lived there.
- Place-names are often misspelled in foreign sources. Difficult names may have been shortened and important diacritic marks omitted.
- Political boundaries are not clearly indicated on all maps.
Finding a Specific Town on a Map
To do successful research in Argentina, you must identify the town where your ancestor lived.
Because many towns have the same name, you may need some additional information before you can locate the correct town on a map. You will be more successful if you have some information about the town. Before using a map, you can search gazetteers, histories, family records, and other sources to learn all you can about the following:
- The governmental district your ancestor's town was in
- The province the ancestor came from
- Name of the parish where your ancestor was baptized or married
- Towns where related ancestors lived
- The size of the town
- The occupation of your ancestor or his relatives (this may indicate the size or industries of the town).
Nearby localities, such as large cities:
- Nearby features, such as rivers and mountains
- Industries of the area
- Dates the town existed
- Other names the town was known by
Use gazetteers to identify the province your ancestor's town was in. This will distinguish it from other towns of the same name and help you locate it on a map. See Argentina Gazetteers.
Finding Maps and Atlases
Collections of maps and atlases are available at numerous historical societies and at public and university libraries. You can purchase maps of Argentina from any local book store.
The Family History Library has a good collection of Argentinian maps and atlases. These are listed in the FamilySearch Catalog by using a Place Search under:
ARGENTINA - MAPS
ARGENTINA - PROVINCE - MAPS
A helpful set of maps at the Family History Library is:
- Carta provisional de la República Argentina. (Provisional Map of the Republic Argentin). Scale: 1:500.000. 69 maps. Buenos Aires: El Instituto, 1939–1975. (FHL map 982 E7ag.)
Helpful atlases for Argentina include:
- Chapeaurouge, Carlos de. Atlas del plano catastral de la República Argentina. (Atlas of the Planning Tax Offices of the Republic of Argentina). Buenos Aires: Eigendorf y Lesser, 1905. Buneos Aires: J. Lesser, 1913. (FHL film 0908853 item 1; Fiche 6030612 [supplement].) Includes 119 maps.
- Latzina, Francisco. Geografía de la República Argentina.(Geography and Description of Argentina). Buenos Aires: Félix Lajouane, 1888. (FHL book 982 E2lf; film 0599567 item 1.)
Bibliographies of Argentianian maps and atlases are found in the following books:
- Barba, Fernando E. Indice de mapas, planos y fotografías del Ministerio de Obras Públicas 1885–1910. (Index to the maps, plan and photograph holdings of the Sección Ministerio de Obras Públicas 1885–1910). La Plata: Archivo Histórico de la Provincia, 1968. (FHL book 982 A3b; film 0873668 item 4.)
- Fúrlong Cárdiff, Guillermo. Cartografía Histórica Argentina: mapas planos y diseños que se conservan en el Archivo General de la Nación. (Inventory of the maps, plans, and drawings found in the National Archives of Argentina). Buenos Aires, Talleres Gros del Boletín Oficial e Imprentas de Ministerio del Interior, 1963. (FHL book 982 A3f; film 0897023 item 2.)
- Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection - http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/argentina.html
- Various Maps from Embassy World - http://www.embassyworld.com/maps/Maps_Of_Argentina.html
- World Atlas - http://worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/samerica/ar.htm#maps
- Argentina Map and Place Name Index - http://www.multimap.com/index/AR.htm
- InfoPlease: Map of Argentina -http://www.infoplease.com/atlas/country/argentina.html
- Clickable map of Argentina - http://www.atlasgeo.net/