Where Did Your Ancestor Live? How to Interpret Plat Maps

Where Did Your Ancestor Live? How to Interpret Plat Maps

Finding your ancestors’ homestead, or at least where it used to be, is a really exciting part of genealogy. If you know where they lived, you can go visit the place in person and see things from their perspective. While the area may have changed (though in some cases it may have not changed at all, or very little), you can get an idea of what your ancestors may have seen every day and the landscape, climate, and natural flora and fauna that shaped their daily lives. You can quite literally walk in their footsteps. It is a wonderful way to get closer to your ancestors and to know them better.
The best way to find where your ancestors lived, the actual precise location of their home and/or land, is to look at a plat map. Most county courthouses have old plat maps going back decades, and sometimes even centuries in some places. If you know the state and county where your ancestor lived, you can often locate their residence on plat maps, if the courthouse has maps going back far enough in time. You just need to look through the court’s plat map books for the correct year or range of years that your ancestors lived in the county, then scrutinize the maps until you find their names...