Genealogy #8: Overlooked Sources, part 3

Overlooked Sources, part 3

This is a continuation of a posting about considering sources you might not ordinarily think of when starting your genealogy journey.

The last two sources I will highlight in this section are maps and journals.

3. Maps
A few things to consider are a decent, well-detailed atlas, Wikipedia, and progressive maps.

The atlas will help you locate counties, particularly in relation to one another.
If a relative was born in Richmond, but died in Lee County, Virginia, it might be helpful to see how close the two counties are, as well as try to determine what route he may have taken from Point A to Point B.

Wikipedia is a wonderful source for locating information about geographic locations, even if the place doesn’t exist anymore.
Because the information is supplied by the public and can be edited at any time, sometimes errors occur.
But more often than not, it is a helpful source.

Progressive maps are an invaluable source when you want to know exactly what your ancestor’s home was called on a particular date.
Questions such as:
When was Stewart County, Tennessee, established?
When did Grundy County form from Warren County?
What was the county called in 1854?
can all be answered through progressive maps.
These may be located elsewhere, but there are fine free examples of Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and more on

4. Contemporary Journals

Also check journals, diaries, and other writing samples written in the same place and time as your ancestors.
Even though they were not written by your relative, similarities in experiences are reasonable assumptions, and patterns in such constants as food, shelter, weather, clothing, dangers, etc. are certain.

So definitely take the time to consider what else may help you in your ongoing search for information.
What you find may be better than what you were hoping for.


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