This database consists of a set of detailed maps at 1:100,000 scale (or 1 inch to 1.58 miles or 1 cm to 1 km) covering the entire German Empire as it existed prior to World War I.
About the Maps:
The maps are arranged in a grid pattern, with each section of the grid covering a small area of the country. There are multiple editions of each map section, published in different years, so changes can be seen over time.
Many of the maps are extremely detailed, showing large cities, small villages, individual farms, stands of trees, roads, ponds, creeks, and other geographic features.
How to Search the Maps:
To locate a particular map, begin by looking at the overview map (Übersichtsblatt). On the overview map find the sheet number for the part of the country you want to view. Return to the main database page and then use either the search template above or the image browse table below to find the particular map. If you use the search template, you can search on the map name or the sheet number. If you use the image browse table, select the sheet number range of the sheet that you want to view. Then select the actual sheet number followed by the year.
Using Maps with Family History:
A map is not only a way to get a good idea of what an ancestor's village and surrounding area was like, but it can also be used as a research tool to identify nearby towns and cities where records may have been kept.
Maps, atlases, and gazetteers are essential tools for family historians. Maps may be either topographical (emphasizing land forms) or historical (emphasizing historical events) in nature, though either type can show cultural features, such as town and creek names that are important for research. Public libraries and especially college and university libraries usually have good contemporary maps. Historical maps are sometimes more difficult to find. Genealogical and historical societies in the area you are researching are likely repositories for old maps. The Internet is also a good place to locate obscure maps. (Taken from Loretto Dennis Szucs, "Chapter Nine: The Historical Dimension," in Family History Made Easy, (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1998)).