Genealogy is a remarkable odyssey. It’s an adventure that takes us many places in our quest to follow the lives and fortunes of people to whom we are related (and some to whom we are unrelated). We must research history and geography, sociology, economics, architecture, transportation logistics, agriculture, weather, handwriting analysis, foreign languages, and any number of other disciplines.
Maps have always held a special fascination for me. Beginning with the road maps that my father obtained from the local Esso station decades ago, I marveled over the details of the terrain and highways we traveled. As I became interested in our family’s history, I started looking at these maps to determine and try to picture where my ancestors and their families had lived. Then came the moment when I encountered the first contradiction that suggested the maps I was reading were incorrect! It didn’t take long for our town librarian to set me straight. She explained that I needed to beware of boundaries that changed over the centuries. She showed me how to compare contemporary maps with historical maps of places as they existed in my ancestors’ lifetimes. This would help me determine the political jurisdictions in which my forebears had lived and, in that way, I could more accurately determine the correct locations to search to locate records of their lives.
Why Are Maps Important?
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