Several types of maps are useful for genealogists as they search information in Iowa. Some maps give historical background of the area or show migration routes, such as roads, rivers, and railroads. Topographical, Plat, Land ownership maps plus many others are described in the Maps section of the United States Research Outline. Many maps are in published atlases.
Atlases for most Iowa counties begin about 1870 and may contain some biographical information about families in that county. Sometimes they include pictures of individuals and their homes and farms.
City Ward Maps
There are many places to find the GPS Coordinates of a location, cemetery, township, city, etc. One easy website to use is from the USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS).
Historical Maps and Atlases
- The David Rumsey Map Collection contains an extensive collection of historical atlases, maps, and other antique cartographic treasures.
- A few maps of early Mormon and other pioneer trails are available at the Family History Library.
- 1875 Historical Maps this collection contains plat maps for the Counties of Delaware, Jefferson, Marion, Page, Poweshiek and Taylor.
- 1894 Historical Maps showing counties in the East half of Iowa.
- 1895 Historical Maps a colorful map shows the entire state of Iowa with the option of viewing each individual state.
Land Ownership Maps
Land ownership maps exist for certain Iowa counties from 1858 to 1900. These maps provide the name of the landowner and the names of the owners of adjacent land. There are 35 Iowa land ownership maps published from 1858 to 1900 on microfiche at the Family History Library in: Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. Land Ownership Maps. (Family History Library fiche 6079414-48 [Iowa])
County boundaries changed often over the years, these maps show the county boundaries for each of the census years.
Plat and land ownership maps and other types of maps are described in the section of the United States Research Outline.
- 1875 Historical Maps this collection contains plat maps for the Counties of Delaware, Jefferson, Marion, Page, Poweshiek and Taylor
Topographical maps show physical and man-made features, such as creeks, hills, roads, cemeteries, and churches.
The following statewide collections of maps may be helpful to you:
- The University of Iowa and Iowa State University have wide ranging map collections for the state. Iowa maps and atlases are listed in the Locality.
- Andreas, A. T. Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Iowa, 1875. Chicago, Illinois: Lakeside Press, 1875. (Family History Library film 966235 item 2 or film 980875 item 1)
- Atlas of the State of Iowa. N.p.: Huebinger, 1904. (Family History Library film 966236)
- Maps Taken from County Histories, etc. and Filed Separately at the Iowa State Historical Society. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1976. (Family History Library film 989450 item 8)
- A valuable finding aid for Iowa maps is: Cobb, David A. Guide to U.S. Map Resources. Chicago, Illinois and London, England: American Library Association, 1986. (Family History Library book 973 E74co)
Family History Library Catalog, atlases and maps are both listed under Maps.