Any Historical Illinois Map can indicate who owned specific property in the state and which towns held the county seat at the time. This information is a valuable starting point for your research pointing you to the right location of records.
Solving Research Problems with a Illinois Maps – If you have started your family research, you might have experienced trouble with trying to identify Illinois city borders and names that have changed over the course of time. This can make it difficult to understand where your ancestors’ information is kept.
Because Illinois historic maps were usually commissioned by the county seat, they often display information about the county, including town names. Reading a Illinois map from the time period you are researching can help tremendously in solving these problems by leading you to the correct town records. It can also give you other leads, such as the location of city directories or old post offices in Michigan.
Illinois Map of Counties
Choosing the Best Illinois Map – If you have a large source of maps to choose from, try starting with the area where your ancestors resided and looking for the maps with the most detail. You can determine a lot by seeing if the area was still rural or more developed, and how far it was to the nearest city. This can shed light on your family’s lifestyle and occupation. Were they farmers who lived in the country, or merchants who traveled often to a nearby city? A map can give you an idea of what occupations were possible.
The Illinois State Historical Library has county plat books and atlases available for the years of around 1870 to 1930. Those maps show townships and ownership of various lands at the times that the maps were drawn. However, plat books must be examined on-site. They are not available for loans or photocopying. The University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, Chicago Historical Society, and the Illinois State Library also have large Illinois map collections available. The Illinois State Library can also provide a list of its land map and atlas holdings.
The following offices have free highway maps for Illinois available:
Illinois Secretary of State
Department of Commerce and Community Affairs
The oldest available Illinois Sanborn map is from 1884.
Illinois Map of County Formations For The Years 1790-1869
These Illinois maps shows the historical changes to Illinois counties from 1790 to 1869. This Interactive Illinois map is made with the use AniMap Plus 3.0 & with the Permission of the Goldbug Company.
The Illinois Highway Department has prepared a series of county road maps. These maps contain more detailed information about man-made features than the geological survey maps. In addition to roads and boundaries, these maps include rural communities, churches, and cemeteries.
These maps are downloadable and are in PDF format. The main use of these are the locations of all known cemeteries in a county and of course the various roads and church locations. These Maps are Free to Download