07 October 2011

New and more interactive version of the Historical U.S. County Boundary Maps tool released!

Check out the new and more interactive version of the Historical US County Boundary Maps tool!

Here's a quick run-down on what's new:

  • Show me the answer now please!  Now, when you type a Place and a Year* and click the Go button, you will be zoomed to that place and an information panel will automatically appear above the map, as highlighted here:

  • I want the details.  The information panel above the map shows the year, county name, full place name, and details about the latest evolution of your county of interest's boundaries as of the year you chose.  Source information about the boundary change is also shown in parenthesis at the end of the Details.
QUICK TIP FOR GENEALOGISTS:  Most people say that a best practice for recording locations in your family tree is to record the place name as it was at the time of a Fact or Event associated with your ancestor.  As a shortcut to typing, you can select the "Full place name" text with your mouse as shown below, and then Copy (Ctrl+C) and Paste (Ctrl+V) it into a Fact or Event's location field in your favorite genealogy program or website.
Today, Cortez, Colorado is located in Montezuma County.  But in 1880 it was part of La Plata County. 

  • Hmm, what are these other places around here?  Now you can zoom and pan around the area and then click the map to see information about places in other counties as of that same year.  Late-breaking news:  Now, when you drag the map such that it's center falls in another state, you will be asked if you want to see county boundaries for that new state instead.  Can't make it much easier...
  • OK, I want to see more.  Literally.  Want a bigger map window to work with?  Just click the little + sign in the upper right corner of the map pane.

  • Now I'd like to time-travel.  Click the arrow button on the right side of the Year box to scroll forward a decade at a time and see the county boundaries change before your eyes.  Alas, you can also click the arrow button on the left side of the Year box to...you get the idea.

  • *But I know the exact date I want.  Based on feedback from Tami Glatz, you can now enter an exact date to see county boundaries in effect as of that date!  Dates must be entered in the format M/D/YYYY, or you can still just enter a 4-digit year if you want.
  • But what about the rest of the world?  Sorry, the Historical US County Boundary Maps tool is only available for the United States.  However, you can view rough historical country (with an "r") boundaries with the Historical World Boundary Maps tool.

Find the new version of the Historical US County Boundary Maps tool here.

I look forward to your comments below on these enhancements!  And don't forget to click the Like, Tweet, or +1 buttons on the left side of the map...they help spread the news about this map tool.  Enjoy!

(If anyone has trouble with this new version of the map tool, please read the Quick Tips and Notes underneath the map tool.  Also, you can still access the old version here.  But if you're having trouble, please leave a comment below so I can try to address it.)