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How can topographic maps be useful in genealogical research?

Once you've gathered as many facts about family history and customs as possible, turn to maps to uncover more specific information or to solve historical mysteries.

In the United States, birth, death, property, and some other kinds of records are normally kept by county governments. If you can name the place where an ancestor lived, new or old maps of that place might show the county seat where useful data about your relatives can be obtained.

Many towns, counties, cities, and even countries have experienced numerous name changes over the years. Historical USGS maps can help locate places that have had name changes or have disappeared. You can also use the Geographic Names Information System to search for place names that might no longer appear on newer maps.

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