Illinois Map & Atlas Guide

Illinois Map & Atlas Guide

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.

IL Home
IL County Formaitions
IL Atlases
IL DOT Maps
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U.S. Map Guides

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

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
  • Communications Department
  • 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.

Slideshow image
Illinois County Formation years
1790 1795 1796 1800 1801 1803 1809 1812 1813 1814 1816 1817 1818 1819 1821
1822 1823 1824 1825 1826 1827 1829 1830 1831 1833 1834 1835 1836 1837 1839
1840 1841 1843 1845 1847 1848 1851 1852 1853 1854 1855 1859 1869    
Illinois Census Year with Modern Map overlayed:
1810 1818 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870-1930            
Illinois Map Abbreviations
unorg. = unorganized
g. = gained
w. = with
fr. = from
atmt. = attachment
exch = exchanged
nca.= non county area
ch. = changed

Ad  - Adams
Al   - Alexander
Bon - Bond
Boo - Boone
Br   - Brown
Bu   - Bureau
Cal - Calhoun
Car - Carroll
Cas - Cass
Cha - Champaign
Chr - Christian
Cli - Clinton
Clk - Clark
Cly - Clay
Col - Coles
Coo - Cook
Cr   - Crawford
Cu   - Cumberland
DK   - De Kalb
Do   - Douglas
DW   - De Witt
DP   - DuPage
Edg - Edgar
Edw - Edwards
Ef   - Effingham
Fa   - Fayette
Fo   - Ford
Fr   - Franklin
Fu   - Fulton
Ga   - Gallatin
Gr   - Grundy
Gre - Greene
Ham - Hamilton
Han - Hancock
Har - Hardin
Hry - Henry
Hsn - Henderson
Ir   - Iroquois
Jac - Jackson
Jas - Jasper
JD   - Jo Daviess
Jef - Jefferson
Jer - Jersey
Jo   - Johnson
Ke   - Kendall
Kke - Kankakee
Kn   - Knox
Kne - Kane
Lak - Lake
Law - Lawrence
Lee - Lee
Li   - Livingston
Lo   - Logan
LS   - La Salle
Mad - Madison
McD - McDonough
McH - McHenry
McL - McLean
Mcn - Macon
Men - Menard
Mer - Mercer
Mor - Morgan
Mou - Moultrie
Mpn - Macoupin
Mrn - Marion
Mro - Monroe
Msc - Massac
Msl - Marshall
Msn - Mason
Mty - Montgomery
Og   - Ogle
Peo - Peoria
Per - Perry
Pia - Piatt
Pik - Pike
Po   - Pope
Pul - Pulaski
Put - Putnam
Ra   - Randolph
Ri   - Richland
RI   - Rock Island
Sal - Saline
San - Sangamon
SC   - St. Clair
Sch - Schuyler
Sco - Scott
Sh   - Shelby
Sta - Stark
Ste - Stephenson
Ta   - Tazewell
Un   - Union
Ve   - Vermilion
Wab - Wabash
War - Warren
Was - Washington
Way - Wayne
Wil - Will
Win - Winnebago
Wo   - Woodford
Wsd - Whiteside
Wsn - Williamson
Wte - White

Illinois Maps & Atlases

1836 Illinois MapThe David Rumsey Historical Illinois Map Collection is scanned from original copies so you can see Illinois as our ancestors saw them over a hundred years ago.

Some Illinois map years (not all) have cities, railroads, P.O. locations, township outlines and other features useful to the Illinois researcher.

Illinois D.O.T. County Road and Highway Maps

Michigan County DOT MapThe 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

The Illinois TOWNSHIP General Highway Maps emphasize the display of the road network on a regional basis without regard to specific city and village boundaries.

External Illinois Map Links

U.S. State Map Guides