Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps Now Online

Many experienced genealogists can tell you that using the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps is a great way to learn more about the lives of your U.S. ancestors, especially if they owned their own homes or rented homes or their places of business.

The Library of Congress has placed online nearly 25,000 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, which depict the structure and use of buildings in U.S. cities and towns. Maps will be added monthly until 2020, for a total of approximately 500,000.

The online collection now features maps published prior to 1900. The states available include Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Alaska is also online, with maps published through the early 1960s. By 2020, all the states will be online, showing maps from the late 1880s through the early 1960s.

The Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps are a valuable resource for genealogists, historians, urban planners, teachers or anyone with a personal connection to a community, street or building. The maps depict more than 12,000 American towns and cities. They show the size, shape and construction materials of dwellings, commercial buildings, factories and other structures. They indicate both the names and width of streets, and show property boundaries and how individual buildings were used. House and block numbers are identified. They also show the location of water mains, fire alarm boxes and fire hydrants.

You can learn more in the Library of Congress web site at: https://www.loc.gov/item/prn-17-074/?loclr=fbloc-new. The Sanborn Fire Maps that are already online may be found at: https://www.loc.gov/collections/sanborn-maps/about-this-collection.

7 Comments

Go to the main Sanborn page and click on “Other Locations” in the lefthand sidebar. Nearly all 50 states have some maps on-line already. Not very many. Example: California has about two dozen so far.

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    I’m having difficulty finding the main Sanford page – would you kindly provide the url.
    Thank you.

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I did not find anything for Minnesota so wanted to let you know that the Chaska (Minnesota) Historical Society has the local ones on their web site. We took the original maps in our collection to a large format scanner.
http://www.chaskahistory.org/Maps.html

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Glad my local library has Sanborn maps for Florida, because the LOC doesn’t. Had to use one this morning.

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This is wonderful! It will be so convenient to have them all in one place. But, if people are interested in what is online for Kentucky right now (and don’t want to wait for the Library of Congress to upload their maps), the Kentucky Digital Library has many more Sanborn maps online already. They can be found at: Kentucky Digital Maps You can even search for the city you are interested in, to narrow down the field.

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Sanborn maps are a wonderful source for genealogists. It’s fascinating to see where your ancestors lived and the maps show the building’s size as well as its location. I’m anxiously waiting for the maps as they come online.

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thank you for this info Dick, this is big !!

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