Historic Land Ownership Maps and Atlases Online

Historic land ownership maps and county atlases show who owned land in a given area at a given time. Also displayed are towns, churches, cemeteries, schools, railroads, businesses, and natural land features. Land ownership maps make it easy to view the location and shape of an ancestor's land or farm at a particular point of time, plus its relationship to the land and locations of relatives, friends, and neighbors.

Land ownership maps are available online from a variety of resources, including subscription genealogy sites, University map collections, sources for digitized historic books, and locality-based websites hosted by individuals, genealogical and historical societies, and local libraries. Below you'll find a selected list of online resources for locating historic landowner and cadastral maps online, but you can find even more by entering search terms such as county atlas, cadastral map, landowner map, the name of a map publisher (i.e. F. W. Beers), etc. into your favorite search engine.

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Historic Map Works

1873 Map of New York, Brooklyn Cities Central Portions Map, Long Island. Historic Map Works LLC / Getty

This commercial site specializes in U.S. land ownership maps from the 19th and 20th centuries. Search by locality, and narrow even further to county maps, atlases and town/city maps to find a wide variety of historic maps that name land owners. Subscription required for full access. A library edition is available in select libraries, including the Family History Library and Family History Centers.

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HistoryGeo's "First Landowners Project" includes over 7 million original purchasers of federal land from 16 public land states, plus Texas, while the Antiques Map Collection includes over 100,000 indexed landowner names, from about 4,000 cadastral maps from a variety of sources and time periods. This online collection includes every map from the Arphax print catalog.

HistoryGeo.com subscription required.
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U.S. County Land Ownership Atlases (1860-1918)

Search almost seven million names in the U.S. County Land Ownership Atlases collection on Ancestry.com, created from microfilm of approximately 1,200 U.S. county land ownership atlases from the Library of Congress’ Geography and Maps division, covering the years 1860-1918. Maps can be searched by state, county, year and owner's name. Ancestry.com subscription required.

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U.S., Indexed Early Land Ownership and Township Plats, 1785-1898

This collection of township plat maps from the Public Lands Survey includes maps for all or parts of Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin. Maps were prepared from survey field notes taken by deputy surveyors and sometimes include names of landholders. Ancestry.com subscription required.

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In Search of Your Canadian Past: The Canadian County Atlas Digital Project

Forty-three historical county atlases from the McGill University's Rare Books and Special Collections Division have been scanned and indexed to create this outstanding online database, searchable by property owners' names. The atlases were published between 1874 and 1881, and cover counties in the Maritimes, Ontario, and Quebec (the majority cover Ontario).

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Kansas Historical Society: County Atlases or Plat Books

These county atlases and plat maps, dating from the 1880s to the 1920s, show owners of individual parcels of rural land in counties throughout Kansas. The plats include section boundaries and include the locations of rural churches, cemeteries, and schools. City plats are also sometimes included, but do not list owners of individual city lots. Some atlases also include a directory of county residents which may give additional information about the individuals and their land. A large percentage of the atlases have been digitized and are available online.

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Historic Pittsburgh

This free website from the University of Pittsburgh includes a plethora of digitized maps, including 46 volumes of G. M. Hopkins Company Maps, 1872–1940 that include names of property owners within the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny City, and selected Allegheny County municipalities. Also available is the 1914 Warrantee Atlas of Allegheny County, with 49 plates depicting the original land grants indexed by name.

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Land Ownership Maps: Checklist of Nineteenth Century U.S. County Maps in the LOC

This checklist compiled by Richard W. Stephenson records almost 1,500 U.S. county land ownership maps in the collections of the Library of Congress (LOC). If you find a map of interest, use search terms such as location, title, and publisher to see if you can locate a copy online!

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Pennsylvania Warrantee Township Maps

The Pennsylvania State Archives offers free, online access to digitized warrantee township maps, which show all original land purchases from the Proprietors or the Commonwealth made inside the boundaries of present-day townships. Information usually shown for each tract of land includes: name of warrantee, name of patentee, number of acres, name of tract, and dates of warrant, survey and patent. 

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Places in Time: Historical Documentation of Place in Greater Philadelphia

This free online collection from Bryn Mawr College brings together historical information about place in the five-county Philadelphia area (Bucks, Chester, Delaware. Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties), including a number of real estate atlases and maps.

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Your Citation
Powell, Kimberly. "Historic Land Ownership Maps and Atlases Online." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, thoughtco.com/historic-land-ownership-maps-and-atlases-1422027. Powell, Kimberly. (2021, February 16). Historic Land Ownership Maps and Atlases Online. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/historic-land-ownership-maps-and-atlases-1422027 Powell, Kimberly. "Historic Land Ownership Maps and Atlases Online." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/historic-land-ownership-maps-and-atlases-1422027 (accessed March 26, 2023).