Any Historical Texas 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 Texas Maps – If you have started your family research, you might have experienced trouble with trying to identify Texas 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 Texas historic maps were usually commissioned by the county seat, they often display information about the county, including town names. Reading a Texas 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 Texas.
Texas Map of Counties
Choosing the Best Texas 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.
Many Texas maps are available at various repositories, such as the GLO. The Texas State Library’s Archives Division holds a particularly large map collection. That collection includes map compilations, photocopies, and original documents. Some of them are road and highway maps, while others are land survey maps, state maps, or county maps.
Coastal maps, town plats, nautical maps, street maps, and bird’s eye maps are also included, and the collection is indexed according to date and map location. Maps in the collection that were deposited at the Texas State Library before 1965. The Map Collection of the Texas State Archives. The University of Texas libraries in both El Paso and Austin also hold useful state map collections, as does Southern Methodist University DeGrolyer Library.
Texas Map of County Formations For The Years 1834-1931
These Texas maps shows the historical changes to Texas counties from 1834 to 1931. This Interactive Texas map is made with the use AniMap Plus 3.0 & with the Permission of the Goldbug Company.
Creuzbaur, Robert J. DeCordova’s Map of the State of Texas. Compiled from the Records of the General Land Office (GLO) of the State. Houston: n.p., 1849.
Day, James M., et al., comps. Maps of Texas, 1527–1900: The Map Collection of the Texas State Archives. Austin, Tex.: Pemberton Press, 1964.
Frantz, Joe Bertram. Lure of the Land: Texas County Maps and the History of Settlement. College Station, Tex.: Texas A&M University Press, 1988.
Gamble, W. H. County Map of the State of Texas: Showing Also Portions of the Adjoining States and Territories. Philadelphia: n.p., 1879.
Gannett, Henry. A Gazetteer of Texas. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904.
Gray, O. W. Gray’s Railroad Map of Texas. Philadelphia: the author, 1877.
Martin, James C., and Robert S. Martin. Maps of Texas and the Southwest, 1513–1900. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1984. Brief historical sketches accompany the maps in this atlas.
Pool, William C. A Historical Atlas of Texas. Austin, Tex.: Encinco Press, 1975. Maps of the state depict the frontier and various historical periods as well as Indian territories.
Stephens, A. Ray, and William M. Holmes. Historical Atlas of Texas. Consultant: Phyllis M. McCaffree. Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989.
Tarpley, Fred. 1001 Texas Place Names. Austin, Tex.: University of Texas Press, 1980.
Texas State Gazetteer and Business Directory. R. L. Polk and Co., 1882–83, 1884–85, 1890–91. These directories provide a means to identifying business owners in Texas towns as well as locating communities that have disappeared.
Webb, Walter Prescott, and Eldon Stephen Branda. The Handbook of Texas. 3 vols. Austin, Tex.: Texas State Historical Association, 1952–76.
Wheat, James L. Postmasters and Post Offices in Texas, 1846– 1930. N.p.: n.p., 1973. Provides most complete list of communities.