Maps for Vermont
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This entry was originally written by Scott Andrew Bartley and Alice Eichholz, Ph.D., CG for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
Excellent maps exist for use in solving genealogical problems in Vermont. Because it is still a sparsely settled state, it is possible to retrace many an ancestor’s steps, or at least his or her places of residence.
For research and traveling, one superb atlas details town divisions, geographical details, road surface types, routes of transportation, cemeteries and, in older editions, locations of buildings (including those no longer occupied). It is The Vermont Atlas and Gazetteer (Freeport, Maine: DeLorme Mapping, 2003), published in updated versions. A smaller alternative publication is The Vermont Road Atlas and Guide (Burlington, Vt.: Northern Cartographic, 1985– ), in its sixth edition includes the names of all roads and geographic features in relief.
For an excellent bibliography of maps, see David A. Cobbs’s “Vermont Maps Prior to 1900: An Annotated Carto-bibliography,” published as a special double issue of Vermont History 39 (Nos. 3 and 4), 1971.
The Beers Atlas, detailing the structures and owners in the late nineteenth century in every county, has been reissued in the original county editions by Tuttle Publishing, Box 541, Rutland, VT 05701. Only Bennington, Chittenden, and Windsor maps still remain in print, but the entire series is available at the Vermont Historical Society and other research libraries. Originally published by F. W. Beers between 1869 and 1873, these atlases provide a valuable portrait of communities. The same details exist in a set of maps ten years earlier, but the Wallings Map Series from 1858 is only available for reference in large, wall-sized versions at the Vermont Historical Society and other research libraries.
For solving early genealogical problems in Vermont, the most important maps are the town lotting maps (see Vermont Land Records). When each town was granted, the land was divided into lots and numbered. Either the lot’s number or the original proprietor are so often used in land descriptions that they are essential for locating a family in relationship to neighbors and the broader community. Lot maps may be found in town offices, the Vermont Historical Society, the Vermont Public Records Division, or other state agencies (see Background Sources for Vermont—Eichholz’s Collecting Vermont Ancestors, for location of lot maps).