Montana Map & Atlas Guide

Any Historical Montana 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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MT County Formaitions
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U.S. Map Guides

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

Montana Map of Counties

Montana Map of Counties

Choosing the Best Montana 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.

Maps can be very useful in conducting Montana research, especially in light of the now extinct communities. Several kinds of maps are available which can help in locating land, mining claims, ghost towns, or ranches. The U.S. Geological Survey topographical maps for Montana can be ordered through the USGS website or the Montana office at 3162 Bozeman Ave., Helena, MT 59601.

The libraries in the state designated by the U.S. Geological Survey as map depository libraries are the Montana Historical Society; Montana State University–Billings; Montana State University–Bozeman; Montana Tech at the University of Montana, Butte; Montana State University–Northern, Havre; Montana State Library, Helena; and the University of Montana, Missoula.

Montana Map of County Formations For The Years 1848-1950

These Montana maps shows the historical changes to Montana counties from 1848 to 1950. This Interactive Montana map is made with the use AniMap Plus 3.0 & with the Permission of the Goldbug Company.

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

Be - Beaverhead
BH - Big Horn
Bl - Blaine
Br - Broadwater
Cas - Cascade
Cbn - Carbon
Ch - Choteau
Ctr - Carter
Cu - Custer
Dan - Daniels
Daw - Dawson
DL - Deer Lodge
Fa - Fallon
Fe - Fergus
Fl - Flathead
Gal - Gallatin
Gar - Garfield
Gl - Glacier
Gr - Granite
GV - Golden Valley
Hi - Hill
JB - Judith Basin
Je - Jefferson
L&C - Lewis and Clark
La - Lake
Lib - Liberty
Lin - Lincoln
Ma - Madison
McC - McCone
Me - Meagher
Min - Mineral
Mis - Missoula
Mu - Musselshell
Pa - Park
Pe - Petroleum
Ph - Phillips
Pon - Pondera
Pow - Powell
PR - Powder River
Pr - Prairie
Ra - Ravalli
Ri - Richland
Roo - Roosevelt
Ros - Rosebud
Sa - Sanders
SB - Silver Bow
SG - Sweet Grass
Sh - Sheridan
St - Stillwater
Te - Teton
To - Toole
Tr - Treasure
Va - Valley
Wh - Wheatland
Wi - Wibaux
Ye - Yellowstone

Montana Maps & Atlases

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

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

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

Montana County DOT MapThe Montana 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. The County System Routes maps listed below are current as of March 2014.

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 Montana Map Links

U.S. State Map Guides