map is one of the important tools in genealogy research. In learning
about your family history an old map can sometimes be your key
reference & finding aid. I love old maps. From them you can get
a greater understanding of the "lay of the land" where
your ancestor lived. Maybe you know your relative lived in a particular
county but you can not find many records there. By looking at
an old map you find that the closest big town where they might
be doing business was actually in another county or even state!
maps can help locate old cemeteries, schools, county seats, etc..
One old map helped me to locate a mine that my great grandfather
had worked in. In another instance an old county map had the names
of each homestead owner which helped to understand family relationships
and the many allied families that lived close by. On one map of
Birmingham, England I was able to locate the exact street address
and see the nearby churches. This helped me to locate the church
where old baptism and marriage records of my family were held.
maps are useful tool in understanding family migrations. After
the Civil war many of my family members migrated north into Kentucky.
By reading about Sherman's "march to the sea" and referencing
a map, I could see that this had taken him straight through the
area where my family lived. So it made sense that their farms
were probably devastated and they had to move. From other Civil
War records I found that a railroad that had been frequently sabotaged
was just a short distance from their farms. According to the account
in the Union records, they never caught those responsible but
I had to wonder just how much my family members knew - lol.
an old diary, my family members had written where my great grandfather
Philbin was born as they traveled to Oklahoma. I had written to
see if there was a record but the reply came back, no such town.
An old map of the area confirmed it was not Tannings Town but
well know family historian, Archibald Bennett said:
"To portray truly the lives of forefathers, the genealogist must
understand the spirit and events of the times in which their lives
were cast and the intimate environments in which the various generations
of the family lived and played their part . . . Maps enable us
to understand the forces (climatic, political, and religious)
which helped to mold their characters."