Minnesota Map & Atlas Guide

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

Minnesota Map of Counties

Minnesota Map of Counties

Choosing the Best Minnesota 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.

County atlases for Minnesota include maps for the respective county and for townships within that county. The names of property owners are frequently included on these maps. The Minnesota Historical Society has microfilmed many of these atlases, which makes them accessible on interlibrary loan.

Library of Congress Fire Insurance Maps in the Library of Congress; Plans of North American Cities and Towns Produced by the Sanborn Map Company (Washington D.C.: Library of Congress, 1981) states that the earliest map of this type for Minnesota is for 1884. There is, however, a Sanborn map for the city of St. Paul for 1875; this map is located at the map library of the Minnesota Historical Society.

The map collection of the Minnesota Historical Society consists of over 35,000 individual maps and 1,300 atlases, the majority of these for Minnesota and the Midwest. The society is a five-state regional depository for the U.S. Geological Survey maps. It has extensive collections of Minnesota territory and state maps, county and city maps, and fire insurance maps of over 950 Minnesota towns and cities.

There are random maps and plat maps in the county records at the Minnesota Historical Society Research Center. The map library of the Wilson Library at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, is an outstanding cartographic repository, not restricted to Minnesota. It includes worldwide maps and associated material.

Minnesota Map of County Formations For The Years 1801-1937

These Minnesota maps shows the historical changes to Minnesota counties from 1801 to 1937. This Interactive Minnesota map is made with the use AniMap Plus 3.0 & with the Permission of the Goldbug Company.

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Minnesota Map Abbreviations
unorg. = unorganized
g. = gained
w. = with
fr. = from
atmt. = attachment
exch = exchanged
nca.= non county area
ch. = changed
Ait - Aitkin
An - Anoka
BE - Blue Earth
Bec - Becker
Bel - Beltrami
Ben - Benton
Bro - Brown
BSt - Big Stone
Chp - Chippewa
Chs - Chisago
Cly - Clay
Coo - Cook
Cot - Cottonwood
Css - Cass
Ctn - Carlton
Ctr - Clearwater
Cvr - Carver
CW - Crow Wing
Dak - Dakota
Dod - Dodge
Dou - Douglas
Fa - Faribault
Fi - Fillmore
Fr - Freeborn
Go - Goodhue
Gr - Grant
He - Hennepin
Ho - Houston
Hu - Hubbard
Is - Isanti
It - Itasca
Ja - Jackson
Kbc - Kanabec
Kdy - Kandiyohi
Ki - Kittson
Ko - Koochiching
Li - Lincoln
LoW - Lake of the Woods
LqP - Lac qui Parle
LS - Le Sueur
Ly - Lyon
McL - McLeod
Me - Meeker
Mhn - Mahnomen
ML - Mille Lacs
Mor - Morrison
Mow - Mower
Msl - Marshall
Mtn - Martin
Mu - Murray
Ni - Nicollet
Nob - Nobles
Nor - Norman
Ol - Olmstead
OT - Otter Tail
Pen - Pennington
Pin - Pine
Pip - Pipestone
Pol - Polk
Pop - Pope
Ra - Ramsey
Red - Redwood
Ren - Renville
Ri - Rice
RL - Red Lake
Roc - Rock
Ros - Roseau
Sc - Scott
Sh - Sherburne
Si - Sibley
SL - St. Louis
Srn - Stearns
Stl - Steele
Svn - Stevens
Sw - Swift
Tod - Todd
Tr - Traverse
Wab - Wabasha
Wad - Wadena
Wil - Wilkin
Win - Winona
Wr - Wright
Wsc - Waseca
Wsh - Washington
Wwn - Watonwan
YM - Yellow Medicine

Minnesota Maps & Atlases

1880 Minnesota MapThe David Rumsey Historical Minnesota Map Collection is scanned from original copies so you can see Minnesota as our ancestors saw them over a hundred years ago.

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

Minnesota Map of D.O.T. County Road and Highway’s

Minnesota County DOT MapThe Minnesota Department of Transportation is pleased to provide highly detailed county maps online. 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. Paper copies of these maps can be obtained at Mn/DOT’s Map and Manual Sales

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 Kansas Map Links

U.S. State Map Guides