Collection Information

Gazetteers may include maps, but are primarily dictionaries of place names and contain descriptions of geographic features, transportation routes, and the economy of the area. They can also include historical information on seats of government, public institutions (e.g., prisons, schools, etc.), churches, and charitable institutions. Population statistics can give you a feel for the growth of an area and nativity.

Throughout history, boundaries and borders have been redrawn. Knowing where those lines fell during the life of your ancestor is an important part of family history.

Gazetteers can help us become familiar with the places where our ancestors lived, learn more about the environment they lived in, and what civil jurisdiction may hold the records they left behind.

Sample Images

Search Tips

  • This category can be searched by place name, but don’t overlook searching for your ancestor by name. You may find occasional mentions of people and some places were named for prominent citizens.
  • Many of the publication in this category are browsable. Use the browse links to scan the index and table of contents and get a feel for the types of details that are included in the publication.
  • To get a better feel for the maps and gazetteers available for your ancestor’s area, visit the Card Catalog and use the filters to select Maps, Atlases, & Gazetteers, and below to filter down to your ancestor’s location.