Why would you want to see historical Google Maps? County boundaries change over time
and this tool built on Google Maps will help you make sure you’re searching in the correct county for the place and
historical years you’re researching.
NEW! Let this FREE tool do the location work for you as you search on Ancestry.com and
U.S. county boundaries have changed over 17,600 times
since America was settled in colonial times. Don’t
sabotage your search for ancestors by not knowing the correct county for the historical years you are
. While searching on Ancestry and FamilySearch, the free Historical U.S. Counties Auto-Checker
extension for Google Chrome automatically
that the county existed in the year you are searching, warns of boundary changes, and links to historical county
lines on Google Maps for the place and years you are searching!
Install for free today and never let an ancestor fall of the map again!
QUICK TIPS FOR USING THIS HISTORICAL U.S. COUNTIES TOOL:
- Type any PRESENT-day place or address in the “Search places” box above the map*
OR: Zoom into
your place of interest on the map
- Type any HISTORIC date or year in the “As of date” box and click Go! The date must be in the format
M/D/YYYY or can be just a 4-digit year.
Historical county boundaries will draw, and an information pane
about the county of interest will appear at the bottom of the map. The information pane lists the historical
county name at the blue dot, and provides details on the latest boundary change as of the date you typed,
including reference to the particular statute that triggered the change. The latitude and longitude for the blue
dot is also displayed.**
- Check the “Show historical county labels” checkbox in the lower left corner of the map to see the names
of the historical counties on the map
- Optionally, check the “Show county chronology if this place…” checkbox in the lower left corner of
the map to see a complete listing of every county boundary change for your chosen location from the date you
typed back in time to original county formation
- Optionally, check the “Also show present-day county lines” checkbox in the lower left corner of the map
to see present-day county lines (thin red lines) overlaid on top of historical county lines (thicker brown
- Optionally, check the “Also show US townships” checkbox in the lower left corner of the map to see
present-day township boundaries (thin dark orange lines)
- Click the “⊕ Locate” button in the upper right corner of the map to use your current location***
- Subscribe in the top header to receive notification of tool updates and usage tips
* You can also type in GPS coordinates in decimal degrees into the Search places box. For example, type
-105.25, 40 for Boulder, Colorado.
** All information is reported based on the location of the blue dot on the map
; to move the blue dot, click the map
“Locate” button will be more accurate on smartphones and other devices containing a GPS; desktop browsers typically
show an approximate location
FAQs for ‘Historical U.S. Counties’
How do you see Google Maps with historical county lines? (This is often the tool people are searching for when
they search for Randy Majors maps
) Just follow the quick steps above and you will see the historical county
boundary lines for anywhere in the U.S. displayed on a fully interactive Google Map.
Answer questions such
– What county was this present-day address located in as of this historical date?
– What county was my
ancestor’s farm in as of this historical date?
– Which county’s archives or court house might have records for
the time period I am researching?
– What county were these GPS coordinates located in at this historical date
(see * above)?
Plus many other topics where knowing historical counties may be important, such as education,
genealogy and historical research
Looking for PRESENT-day county boundaries on Google Maps? Here it is: County Lines
– Coverage includes all 50 US states, from as early as 3/4/1629 through 12/31/2000.
For present-day county lines use the County Lines on Google
- The Search places box uses a standard Google Maps geocoding engine, therefore you can type PRESENT-day street
addresses, road names, points of interest, and GPS coordinates (see * above) to see what county that location is
- NEW! Some counties or regions were claimed by more than one jurisdiction in some historic years. When
this is the case, an “Overlapping jurisdiction” button will appear at the bottom of the map enabling you to toggle
to the other jurisdiction’s information.
- The map layers from which this information is extracted are very large, so it may take several seconds to finish
- Note that typing an address will zoom in the map very close, whereas typing a city or county by itself will show
you a map with a wider view
- Disclaimer: While the number of decimals in the latitude and longitude displayed for the map marker imply a
positional accuracy of within a few feet, note that Google Maps is not inherently that accurate, and therefore this tool should not be used for legal purposes or anything beyond
– Atlas of Historical County Boundaries, a
project of The Dr. William M. Scholl Center for American History and Culture at The Newberry Library in Chicago,
Illinois. The information is included in this tool under the Creative Commons license shown on the bottom of the
– US Census Bureau
Help improve this tool.
check out the AncestorSearch using Google Custom
tool on this website to build a Google search that is optimized to find web pages mentioning your
ancestors! The search returns a more focused set of results by using advanced Google search techniques including
exact phrases, forward and reverse name order, alternate name spellings, logical operators, and so on.