Pennsylvania Map & Atlas Guide

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

Pennsylvania Map of Counties

Pennsylvania Map of Counties

Choosing the Best Pennsylvania 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.

Most of the courthouses in Pennsylvania can supply maps of county roads. Manuscript collections, county histories, and county atlases also contain older Pennsylvania maps. Some of those collections can be found in the following locations: Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State Library, Free Library of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Library at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania State Archives.

City directories sometimes contain maps of those cities. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission also has a useful map available to researchers. That map shows how the counties developed in the Commonwealth. Warrantee maps from 24 Pennsylvania counties are available at the Pennsylvania State Archives, and copies can also be found in each county recorder of deeds office, as well as at the Pennsylvania State Library.

Pennsylvania Map of County Formations For The Years 1673-1878

These Pennsylvania maps shows the historical changes to Pennsylvania counties from 1673 to 1878.

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Pennsylvania Map Abbreviations
unorg. = unorganized
g. = gained
w. = with
fr. = from
atmt. = attachment
exch = exchanged
nca.= non county area
ch. = changed
Ad - Adams
Al - Allegheny
Ar - Armstrong
Bea - Beaver
Bed - Bedford
Ber - Berks
Bl - Blair
Br - Bradford
Buc - Bucks
But - Butler
Car - Carbon
Cbr - Cambria
Cen - Centre
Ch - Chester
Cla - Clarion
Cle - Clearfield
Cli - Clinton
Co - Columbia
Cr - Crawford
Crn - Cameron
Cu - Cumberland
Da - Dauphin
De - Delaware
Elk - Elk
Er - Erie
Fa - Fayette
Fo - Forest
Fr - Franklin
Fu - Fulton
Gr - Greene
Hu - Huntingdon
In - Indiana
Je - Jefferson
Ju - Juniata
Lac - Lackawanna
Lan - Lancaster
Law - Lawrence
Leb - Lebanon
Leh - Lehigh
Lu - Luzerne
Ly - Lycoming
McK - McKean
Me - Mercer
Mi - Mifflin
Mro - Monroe
Mtr - Montour
Mty - Montgomery
Nhn - Northampton
Nud - Northumberland
Pe - Perry
Ph - Philadelphia
Pi - Pike
Po - Potter
Sc - Schuylkill
Sn - Snyder
So - Somerset
Sul - Sullivan
Sus - Susquehanna
Ti - Tioga
Un - Union
Ve - Venango
War - Warren
Was - Washington
Way - Wayne
We - Westmoreland
Wy - Wyoming
Yor - York

Pennsylvania Maps & Atlases

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

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

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

County DOT MapThe Pennsylvania Highway Department has prepared a series of 2016 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 Pennsylvania Maps

U.S. State Map Guides