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Correlating Maps and Census Records

The Library of Congress (LOC) is a great online resource for old maps of the US. Have you ever looked for a map of the town you grew up in? Or the town you live in now?


For a project I am currently working on, I've pulled a map of an area of interest from 1854. This map is a great example of early American maps. While major roadways are labeled, the smaller roads are not. More insightful, however, is that the maps show exactly who lived in what location.

1854 Map Guilderland, Albany County, New York

Many of the town names have changed over the years, so it's sometimes helpful to look at a current map at the same time to verify where exactly someone lived. Look at this map near the top, left of center -- you'll see a land owner listed as JH Beebe.


You can correlate census data to the map to see exactly who lived in each household. Below shows that in 1850 Joshua H Beebe (JH Beebe on map) was a farmer, had a wife, Elisa, and a nine year old daughter, Huldah; and their farm was valued at $3,000. Pretty cool, huh?!?


1850 US Federal Census Guilderland, Albany County, NY

Census Records Source: National Archives