Update: Historical Counties and Drawing Tools

Screenshot showing both historical county labels and civil township labels

First, the popular Historical U.S. Counties Auto-Checker chrome extension has been updated to work with the latest version of Ancestry’s website. Also, now when you use the Historical U.S. Counties map tool, you can explore the historical counties for any historical date in the context of civil townships. As you likely know, civil townships are often used in a lot of historical records from census to land ownership and more. Now, when you turn on labels for historical counties by checking the “Show historical county labels” box in the lower left corner of the map, if you also check the … Read more

Most Requested Capability Now Available: Draw & measure on the map

Study Area Map draw on the map example - cropped

Based on the survey last month completed by over 100 users, the most requested capability was to be able to draw on the map and save those drawings to your account. Well, now you can! In fact, you can draw points, lines and shapes on the map, save the drawings, and add multiple drawings onto the same map. And, as a bonus, length and area is automatically measured and displayed as you draw! Once you add drawings to your map, plus any other map layers you want to show, you can save the finished map to your account, and share … Read more

On the move? Map tools now let you update your location automatically

What is my current elevation

As before, to show your current location while using any of the map tools on this website, you can click the ◉ button in the upper right corner of the map. But now you can keep clicking the ◉ button to set it to automatically update your location on the map in 1, 5 and 10 minute intervals. Bonus: Monthly Contributors also get an option to update every 0.2 minutes (12 seconds). This might be useful when you are: on the road and need to know what jurisdiction you are in (e.g. city, township, county and state) need to know … Read more

Have it Your Way: Section Township and Range

Section Township and Range Maps by County example

If you’ve used the Section Township Range map tool, you probably already know that you can search by address or place using the Search places box above the map, or you can find a particular parcel using the Find parcel tool at the bottom of the map: Now there are additional ways to get to the Section Township Range map that you want to see. First, you can go Section Township Range Maps by State or Individual County Maps of Section Township and Range found in the Reference Maps section, such as this map of Sarpy County, Nebraska: Once on … Read more

Quick Links: Reference Maps upgraded to higher resolution, include map labels

Texas County Map

The new Reference Maps section on randymajors.org has been upgraded to include higher resolution map images and map labels.  This applies to the following Reference Maps: County Maps of each U.S. State City Limits Maps of each U.S. State Civil Township Maps by State ZIP Code Maps of each U.S. State Section Township Range Maps by State Using Texas Counties as an example on the County Maps of each U.S. State page, you’ll see this thumbnail: You can click the image thumbnails on the reference map pages to go to the interactive map tool focused on your state of interest. … Read more

Quick Links: New Reference Maps section on randymajors.org

Reference Maps Section of randymajors.org

Sometimes, you just need a quick reference map image rather than a fancy interactive map tool. Well, for those times, you can now visit the new Reference Maps section of the randymajors.org Research Hub website. On the Reference Map menu, found at the top of every page, you’ll find links to the following state-based map images: County Maps of each U.S. State City Limits Maps of each U.S. State Civil Township Maps by State ZIP Code Maps of each U.S. State Section Township Range Maps by State Using the Civil Township Maps by State as an example, click the image of … Read more

New feature: DRAW ANY SHAPE on the map to reveal all of the Counties, ZIP Codes, Cities, Townships and more

With all of the Map tools on the randymajors.org Research Hub, you’ve always been able to click on the map to know what ZIP Code, city, county or Section Township and Range that you clicked on. Now with this latest version of the map tools, you can DRAW ANY SHAPE and identify what’s there! Here are the simple steps: Click the “Selection Tools” button on the left side of the map Select the shape you want to draw (line, custom polygon or rectangle) in the upper left corner Draw any shape on the map and double-click the map when you’re … Read more

Create a link to a map of ANY Section, Township and Range, including your CURRENT location

If you have a website that makes use of legal land descriptions, now you can quickly create a link to a map centered on any Section, Township and Range.  Or if you are traveling looking at large land parcels, you can see what Township, Range and Section you are currently* in. This is an advanced capability of the Section Township Range on Google Maps tool. To zoom into a particular Section, Township and Range, create a link such as this: https://www.randymajors.org/township-range-on-google-maps?state=CO&sec=15&t=4&td=N&r=69&rd=W Clicking this link takes you to this map: TIP: copy/paste the link above and customize to suit your needs … Read more

Which U.S. states have which levels of local government…and why should I care?

This topic is more complicated than it sounds, so I’ll attempt to keep it high level. Whether you’re doing present-day or historical research about a place, it’s important to know which levels of local government exist in the state you are researching (e.g. counties, cities, townships).  Why should you care? It may determine which place houses the records you’re looking for The exact location often determines which local taxes are levied and which local laws are applicable  It determines who has jurisdiction for a given location (e.g. police, sheriff, etc.) In addition to providing some definitions, I’ll also point you … Read more

County info added to Section Township Range on Google Maps tool, plus a tip for historical county research

Sometimes it’s hard to determine where you are when using Section, Township and Range Maps.  So to help provide more geographic context when searching for a land parcel, county information has now been added to the Section Township Range on Google Maps tool. For example, let’s do the following “Find parcel” at the bottom of the map: That will show the following map, now including the county name on top as well as dashed gray lines for the county boundaries, like this: Note the county name shown in the upper right (highlighted with the red box above), and the county line … Read more