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.
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
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.
The 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