Live from James Tanner’s Presentation on Military Maps

Greetings from the Crystal Inn in Salt Lake City Utah:  I want to share some of the  insights James Tanner is telling our Retreat attendees about finding military maps online. I have in front of me his hand-out of map sites online, state-by-state as well as general collections.

Search Tips from the screen:

  1. Go back and forth between USGS and Google Earth to find locations and features.
  2. Places and military battles usually have more than one name–depending upon which combatant ‘s side you are searching from. For the Civil War–whether from the North or the South. For the French and Indian War or the Seven Year’s War or other names assigned to the war by the various countries involved for it was a world war.
  3. You can overlay a historical map on Google Earth to match the old place names with the new. Historical boundary maps can also be overlaid by opening those maps in Google Earth. By maneuvering the maps, you can see exactly which county your ancestor lived in at which time period. And what physical and geographical features your ancestor had close up. This is an amazing insight as you watch the maps change in front of your eyes.
  4. is a portal site that accesses more than 30,000 sites with historical maps. A very useful site for tracking battle maps. Many sites will allow you to print or embed or overlay or match features with other maps.
  5. Google Earth and Google Maps are separate sites with differing functions.
  6. Google Earth has many overlays already installed on the site. These overlays can be turned on and off as you want. The David Rumsey Historical Map Collection is icon-accessible on Google Earth.

Since you are not in this class, you can get copies of the Research Guide on military records along with the video DVD of the live presentations from or

Your favorite genealogist, ArleneEakle

PS You also get my presentations on American Military Records and Sources–pages and pages of sources which I’ll wager you have not yet checked for your ancestors! Online and offline.

PPS It’s Veteran’s Day, and one of my favorite person’s birthday–11 November. Keep in mind today the many men and women who have given their lives to ensure our freedom!

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