Professional Genealogists Using Topographic Maps to Locate Ancestors
Professional genealogists use topographic maps, along with information from deeds, survey books and other probate documents, to define where ancestors owned property. This approach in doing genealogy research is especially helpful for two people with the same name located within a relatively close proximity. This genealogical research technique allows you to define each individual based on their own circle of neighbors and geographic area. The deeds, survey books, and other probate records will also provide physical descriptions of the land. These geographic descriptions can include creeks, rivers, ridges, spurs, mountains, springs, and roads that can all be found on a topographic map. Other descriptions include structures and adjacent land owners. This genealogy research tactic will provide a profile for each individual with the same name that includes their neighbors, spouse, possible list of family members and their geographic neighborhood. It will be difficult to distinguish differences in property descriptions by simply reading through land transactions in the deed and survey books, especially if you are not familiar with the region. To get this genealogical information organized you will need to transfer it to a timeline where you will start to see some trends. Transferring those findings to the topographic maps will give you two distinct profiles for each person with the same name. Who knows, maybe they will even be related!