Massachusetts Map & Atlas Guide

Some Historical Massachusetts 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.

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U.S. Map Guides

Solving Research Problems with a Massachusetts Maps – If you have started your family research, you might have experienced trouble with trying to identify Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts historic maps were usually commissioned by the county seat, they often display information about the county, including town names. Reading a Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Map of Counties

Massachusetts Map of Counties

Choosing the Best Massachusetts 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.

There is a series of 18th century maps from 1794 to 1795 covering several towns in Massachusetts. It was published by the Massachusetts Archives. There is also another map series that was done in 1831 originally. Copies of it are on file in many different libraries. Many Massachusetts towns also have their own collections of town maps from different times, which can be used to track dwellings and land ownership over a certain time period.

F.W. Beers atlases were commonly made depicting maps of New England states in the 1870s. Most large libraries have copies of those maps, which are the size of folios, on file. Those maps often showed churches, residences and owners, roads, cemeteries, and schools.

The Massachusetts Archives is home to several collections of maps showing early land distribution in the state, as well as depicting town lots. Multiple town offices have excellent printed maps on file as well. So does the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Massachusetts Map of County Formations For The Years 1683-1947

These Massachusetts maps shows the historical changes to Massachusetts counties from 1683 to 1947. This Interactive Massachusetts map is made with the use AniMap Plus 3.0 & with the Permission of the Goldbug Company.

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Massachusetts Map Abbreviations
unorg. = unorganized
g. = gained
w. = with
fr. = from
atmt. = attachment
exch = exchanged
nca.= non county area
ch. = changed
Ba   - Barnstable
Be   - Berkshire
Br   - Bristol
Du   - Dukes
Es   - Essex
Fr   - Franklin
Hdn - Hampden
Hsr - Hampshire
Mi   - Middlesex
Nan - Nantucket
No   - Norfolk
Pl   - Plymouth
Su   - Suffolk
Wo   - Worcester

Fa  - Fairfield
Har - Hartford
Lit - Litchfield
Mi  - Middlesex
NH  - New Haven
NL  - New London
To  - Tolland
Wi  - Windham

Pr  - Providence
Wa - Washington
Br - Bristol
Knt - Kent
Ne - Newport

Massachusetts Maps & Atlases

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

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

External Massachusetts Map Links

U.S. State Map Guides