31 Days to Better Genealogy – Day 25

31 Days to Better Genealogy – Day 25

I’m taking Amy Crow’s challenge for 31 Days to Better Genealogy and blog Amy’s questions, with my answers; I plan to make one blog post, adding daily. Hopefully by the end of the 31 days, I will learn how to better solve some of my genealogy questions. If you haven’t signed up yet, just click on the link below… never too late to catch up!

31 Days to Better Genealogy by Amy Johnson Crow gives you practical steps to make your research more productive. Whether you are just beginning to climb your family tree or have been doing this for years, you can adapt the tips and methods in 31 Days to Better Genealogy to suit your needs.


Day 25: Check the Maps

On our family trips I remember following Daddy into every filling station we stopped at; if you’re not familiar with that word, it’s what Southerners call service stations. I was always on the hunt for free paper items I could gather – and there were always free maps just waiting for me to pluck out of the racks. I’ve always been a “paper” girl! I don’t remember necessarily reading them, and probably didn’t even understand them at that time, but I sure remember gathering them for my collection in the back seat. Now Amy might be asking…. “but could you fold them?” I bet I gave it a good try Amy!

In traveling as an adult, probably the first time I seriously looked at a map was after I married and moved to Connecticut. I’m usually the navigator on trips – how good was I on that trip – well I did get us here! I do remember finding them frustrating, in trying to figure out distance, as it looked so short on the map, but then it turned out to be so much longer; it was over 960 plus miles from Georgia, but never looked that far!

Those folds could drive a girl crazy, in fumbling to find the correct spot, mark your spot, find it when needed, and keep it somewhat folded to navigate from. It’s funny how you picked them up all neatly folded, and in as it looked easy enough to refold… well, you began, but often it never returned back to the same exact fold. One way or another though – you eventually folded it!

Today’s digital maps are way easier to view and read – and fold; the fold is just turning off your phone! Whenever we travel I usually load a state map on my IPad for a searchable view and keep the route on my phone. Believe me that often helps – especially when you reach a route where you lose service! And that just happened to us on the BlueRidge Parkway in the Shenandoah Mountains!

Amy’s tips on “maps” today was very interesting and made me want to just head on over to the internet and start searching, but as I was en-route home from Georgia… well, that made it a just a wee bit difficult. Remember I am the navigator on our driving trips – and I can’t watch the roads… and watch hubby’s speed… and read, although I often wrote my blog posts for nighttime typing in the hotel! One speeding ticket would have ruined my vacation!!!

Amy’s Map Lists

Boundary Maps

Maps showing the boundaries of a particular area – it’s perfect for giving you that complete overview of the area you’re researching.

Landowner or Cadastral Maps

I learned a new name – Cadastral! This is an awesome map as it shows the parcels of land and who owned them – Thanks Amy!

Topographic Maps

It’s also referred to as a Topo Map –  the map shows how the land lays, and where the elevation and waterways lie. Study these maps and it just might give you a better idea why your ancestor lived there – was the land flat for farming – was it hilly – was water nearby?

Transportation Maps

These maps give you all the details showing transportation – showing exactly where the major roads were and where the railroads ran across the county.


Amy’s Sources for Maps

David Rumsey Map Collection

This vast collection includes maps not just of the United States, but also from around the world and more. (This will be great when I start searching Italy)

Library of Congress

More maps, and also maps here from around the world.

U. S. Geological Survey

Another site for “topo maps” – even free topo maps to download!

New York Public Library

Awesome digitized map collection; also from around the world.

NYPL Map Warper

Amy’s description makes me eager to see … “overlays historical maps with modern maps.” I can’t wait to check this one out!


Sign up at the site and you can connect to collections and services of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide! How did I not know of this before? Now I just need Time, Time and Time!

Your Favorite Search Engine

Well… you what that is!

Wikipedia page for place searching

Great for finding what’s available for the specific area you’re searching!


Amy’s Tips for Off-Line Searching

State Libraries – State Archives – State Historical Societies

Public Libraries – especially in the county of your search

County Courthouse

“THANK YOU” Amy for listing all these super sites for MAP searches!!!


Amy’s To-Do: Take an area that you’re researching and find at least one map that you haven’t seen before.

I decided to do a more detailed search in Lumpkin County, Georgia on locating the area of Cane Creek – Why you ask? My 3rd great grandfather, Berrian Clark Bryan, lived in the hollow opposite Cane Creek. I did a walk-in to that area several years ago and located where his log cabin sat. The hollow across from the cabin was flat, which allowed him to farm and his livestock to graze. Cane Creek gave him water for farming and his animals to drink; the cabin butted up against the mountain where Cane Creek Church sat – higher up on the mountain.


 Google Maps: We walked in on Fred Burns Road… when it ended, we continued on a dirt walkway. B.C. Bryan’s cabin was situated in the hollow about a mile in – across from Cane Creek waterway; located above the cabin is where Cane Creek Church and Cemetery is situated. Berrian lived in that cabin until his death in 1923 and is buried in that cemetery; there’s a pathway up the mountain they walked on to reach Cane Creek Church.


Google Maps: I followed Cane Creek through Lumpkin County, although I did not find where it originated… it just suddenly appeared. In following it down through Lumpkin, it empties into the large Chestatee River – another gold mining river.


Google Maps: Cane Creek snakes through Lumpkin County – near the Calhoun Gold Mine, so that tells me that this was a popular gold mining creek area in the 1800’s! The largest gold belt was located in Lumpkin County, Georgia, and Gold was discovered there in the early 1830’s; a gold rush was sparked and gold miners rushed to the area hoping to get rich!


I just returned from a Georgia vacation and visited Cane Creek church and cemetery. Anytime I’m in the area, I can never resist a visit to this awesome country church and cemetery; I’ll post a future post on this visit with photos.

Click Here For More 31 Days to Better Genealogy

© 2016, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

My blog is at: https://everyonehasafamilystorytotell.wordpress.com/
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4 Responses to 31 Days to Better Genealogy – Day 25

  1. So strange to see you writing about maps when we just chatted about my seeing Mapps in your family tree. Doing good Jeanne. Not so long now until you get to day 31.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was challenging as I’ve been on vacation almost two weeks. I’d read Amys post in the morning and write in the car while we drove, and at night I would type it up and quickly try to do a little research. I do enjoy these, but I’m done now with them until next April, I have one planned. I always seem to be on vacation when doing them – challenging.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lyn Smith says:

    Great story. I still miss the stations where you could pick up maps for free. You can only get those at Visitor Centers these days.
    I also remember trying to figure the miles from point to point. And yes, I can fold a map.
    Love the history behind where your grandpa Bryan lived. Very interesting.
    Thanks for sharing your memories and stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Janice Brown says:

    You are so talented with maps. You are .. the .. Map Whisperer! lol

    Liked by 1 person

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