What is Genealogy
Tid Bits
Tips and Gotcha's
Top ten myths
Top ten reasons to do it
Just for Fun
Getting Started
An exercise using a pedigree
Paperwork organization
Preserving your records
Labeling your records
Maps and geography
Old style dates
Old style handwriting
Tombstone reading
Calculating relationships
Family reunions
PC Software
Genealogical Programs
Genealogical Numbering Systems
Family Group Sheet form
GEDCOM format
Descendancy report
Ahnentafel report
Recap and Statistics
The data pyramid
Source Documents
Record types
Vital and primary records
Manuscript archives
Censuses and the soundex
Actual examples
Where to Look
Where to do your research
Kansas City area research
U.S. GenWeb
Recent immigrants
Ellis Island
African American
Native American
Hispanic American
Recommended web sites
Certified professionals
Genealogical publishers/sellers
Recommended books
Publishing your family history
Forms to use
Dewey Decimal system
Homework assignment

Maps and Geography

  • An atlas and/or gazetteer is an essential tool for the genealogist. Let Rand-McNally be your friend.
  • County boundaries have changed often over the years. Counties sometimes get split into two or more counties. Some get abolished or renamed. See the book Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses of 1790 - 1920 by William Thorndale and William Dollarhide, published in 1992 by the Genealogical Publishing Co. of Baltimore, $40.
  • U.S. Geological Survey (USGS, part of the Department of Interior) maps and data are helpful. See their web site at www.usgs.gov/pubprod for what is available from them.
  • Township names are often given instead of town names. Many libraries will have a book showing all township boundaries. One book is Township Atlas of the U.S. by John I. Adriot, 1979, 1991, McLean, VA, Andriot Associates Publications, over 1500 pages.
    The Library of Congress Number is OCM24340903. The call number at Mid-Continent Public Library is 912.1 AN28A 1991

  • Side note: townships are six square miles in size. Thomas Jefferson came up with the idea.
  • Click here [USGS places file] to download a file of all U.S. towns per their county and state. Click here [English places download] to download a file of all towns in England as they were in the year 1831.

    Note that both of these files are self-extracting zip files. To unzip them, double-click on their name within Windows Explorer and save them to wherever you wish.
    The self-extracting file for the U.S. places is pretty self-evident, three columns of data: state, county and town.
    The self-extracting file for the English places has a small companion file that explains the format/layout of the records.
    To view either of these files, they can be opened in a text editor, such as Notepad, or in a word processor.


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