Staff Favorites: Land Ownership Maps | Newberry

Staff Favorites: Land Ownership Maps

Nicodemus Township, Graham Co., Kansas

Nicodemus Township, Graham Co., Kansas

The Library of Congress provides this explanation of their land ownership maps:

“Beginning in the 1850s, entrepreneurs initiated an important phase in the history of American cartography by producing very detailed maps of counties. Often called ‘land ownership maps’ because they indicate the farms and residences of subscribers, these were usually the first maps of most counties in the Northeast and Midwest, and the Great Plains states. In addition to showing land owners throughout the county, they often contain inset maps of towns and villages as well as vignettes of residences, businesses, and farms. County land ownership maps are among the most heavily used materials in the division [Geography & Maps] because of their value to genealogical studies. The Titled Collection contains nearly fifteen hundred such maps published before 1900, which are described in ‘Land Ownership Maps: A Checklist of Nineteenth-Century United States County Maps in the Library of Congress (Washington, 1967)’.”

These maps have been digitized ( collection “Indexed County Land Ownership Maps, 1860-1918”) and are also available on microfiche. The Newberry has a set of the microfich (Call No. Microfiche 583) as well as a copy of the Checklist (Call No. Local History Ref Z6027.U5 U54 )

For more information, check out the Library of Congress page on Land Owership Maps and Atlases.


I was able to copy a vignette of my Great grandfather's farm in 1885 from, but I am wondering if it is possible to get a copy of the picture that is more clear. It is mentioned that the Newberry has a set of the microfich for the Indexed Count Land Ownership Maps, 1860-1918. My grandfather's name is Charles Casson and he was listed on page 28 as Casson, Chas. Can I purchase a copy of his farm vignette or is the Ancestry copy the best I can do? Thanks.
@Betty - The quality of the copy will depend on the quality of that particular microfiche. If you send the details, including state, county and township, we can give it a try. For the best results, use the Contact Us form at

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