Michigan Map & Atlas Guide

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

Michigan Map of Counties

Michigan Map of Counties

Choosing the Best Michigan 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 first map from Michigan that listed landownership was the John Farmer 1855 Wayne County plat map.  However, many more land ownership maps were published in 1876 for Michigan’s centennial. The Burton Historical Collection and the Library of Michigan each have large Michigan map collections on hand.  A 14-volume set called “Checklist of Printed Maps of the Middle West to 1900” (Chicago: The Newberry Library, n.d.) is an excellent resource for information on plat books and maps in Michigan, as well as 10 other states.  The 1868 Lansing Sanborn map is the earliest Michigan Sanborn map.

Michigan Map of County Formations For The Years 1790-1897

These Michigan maps shows the historical changes to Michigan counties from 1790 to 1897.

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Michigan Map Abbreviations
unorg. = unorganized
g. = gained
w. = with
fr. = from
atmt. = attachment
exch = exchanged
nca.= non county area
ch. = changed

Al   - Alger
Alc - Alcona
All - Allegan
Alp - Alpena
Ant - Antrim
Ar   - Arenac
Bay - Bay
Ben - Benzie
Ber - Berrien
Bga - Baraga
Bra - Branch
Bry - Barry
Cal - Calhoun
Cas - Cass
Cbg - Cheboygan
Cha - Charlevoix
Chi - Chippewa
Cla - Clare
Cli - Clinton
Cr   - Crawford
De   - Delta
Di   - Dickinson
Ea   - Eaton
Em   - Emmet
Ge   - Genesee
Gl   - Gladwin
Go   - Gogebic
Gr   - Gratiot
GT   - Grand Traverse
Hi   - Hillsdale
Ho   - Houghton
Hu   - Huron
In   - Ingham
Ion - Ionia
Ios - Iosco
Ir   - Iron
Is   - Isabella
Ja   - Jackson
Ken - Kent
Kew - Keweenaw
Kka - Kalkaska
Kzo - Kalamazoo
Lak - Lake
Lap - Lapeer
Lee - Leelenau
Len - Lenawee
Li   - Livingston
Lu   - Luce
Mar - Marquette
Mas - Mason
Mcb - Macomb
Mcm - Montcalm
Mcy - Montmorency
Mec - Mecosta
Men - Menominee
Mid - Midland
MIs - Missaukee
Mnc - Mackinac
Mro - Monroe
Mte - Manistee
Mu   - Muskegon
New - Newaygo
Oa   - Oakland
Oc   - Oceana
Og   - Ogemaw
Ola - Osceola
On   - Ontonagon
Osd - Oscoda
Ots - Otsego
Ott - Ottawa
PI   - Presque Isle
Ros - Roscommon
Sag - Saginaw
San - Sanilac
Sc   - Schoolcraft
SC   - St. Clair
Shi - Shiawassee
SJ   - St. Joseph
Tu   - Tuscola
VB   - Van Buren
Was - Washtenaw
Way - Wayne
We   - Wexford

Michigan Maps & Atlases

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

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

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

Michigan County DOT MapThe Michigan 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

External Links for Michigan Maps

U.S. State Map Guides