Several types of maps are useful for genealogists. Some give the historical background of the area; others show migration routes such as roads, rivers, and railroads. Topographical maps show physical and manmade features, such as creeks, hills, trails, and roads used as persons came to Minnesota. Sometimes maps also include cemeteries and churches. Plat and land ownership maps, as well as other types of maps, are described in United States Maps. In the Family History Library Catalog, atlases are listed in the Place Search. Remember to search each locality as a town, a county and as a state.
The Wilson Library of the University of Minnesota has the most complete collection of maps for the state. Their web address is:
- Map Collections in the Wilson Library[Internet site] Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota, 2000 [cited 27 January 2000]. Available at: www.lib.umn.edu/wilsonlib/maps.html.
Historical Minnesota maps are available in the David Rumsey Map Collection.
The Minnesota Historical Society Library also has an extensive map collection, and the Family History Library has a few maps that can aid your research. Two atlases, An Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Minnesota and Bakeman’s A Comprehensive Index to A. T. Andreas’ Illustrated Historical Atlas of Minnesota—1874, are both cited in Minnesota Biography.
A bibliography of available county atlases is in:
- Treude, Mai. Windows to the Past: A Bibliography of Minnesota County Atlases. Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 1980. (Family History Library book 977.6 E73t.) It indicates whether copies of individual atlases are at the Library of Congress or at archives or libraries in Minnesota.
A guide to the history of Minnesota’s counties and boundary changes has also been published:
- Long, John H., ed. Historical Atlas and Chronology of County Boundaries 1788–1980. Volume 5: Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota. Boston, Massachusetts: G. K. Hall, 1984. (Family History Library ].) Shows when and where each county changed boundaries.
- Historical maps from the collection of the Minnesota Historical Society and the State of Minnesota. Original land survey maps, plat books and atlases available online.
United States Census Bureau State and County Map. This map will allow you to zoom in on any state or county in the United States and read the names of all of the neighboring counties.
United States Maps describes additional sources containing maps of Minnesota. Maps are listed in the Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
MINNESOTA – MAPS
MINNESOTA, [COUNTY] – MAPS
MINNESOTA, [COUNTY], [TOWN] – MAPS
Printable maps are also available from the National Atlas of the United States -- http://nationalatlas.gov/printable.html
- County Formation Maps View the formation of Minnesota counties. (Animap, via FamilyHistory101)