Samford University Library
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Course 8   Land Records: Maps and Related Records -- CLOSED
Rick Sayre, Coordinator

Schedule 8:30-9:45 10:15-11:30 1:00-2:15 2:45-4:00 7:00
June 11
Mapping America

Colonial Survey -- Terms and Tools

Tech Lab I
Birmingham Public Library -- Agee Collection

Sayre, Holsclaw, Bell, Kashuba
Tech Lab II
Birmingham Public Library -- Agee Collection

Sayre, Holsclaw, Bell, Kashuba
Tech Lab III

June 12
Topographic Maps I

Topographic Maps II

Land Division & Atlases

Tech Lab IV

Bell, Holsclaw

June 13
Military Maps

Tech Lab V
Finding aids for maps - print and online

Urban Map Resources I

Urban Map Resources II


June 14
Gazetteer Search Techniques

Migration Maps

Tech Lab VI
Introduction to GPS

Sayre, Kashuba
Tech Lab VII
Modern Mapping GIS


8:00-9:15 9:45-10:45 11:00-12:00
June 15
Tech Lab VIII
GPS Mapping in the Field -- Cemetery Visit

Sayre, Holsclaw, Bell, Kashuba
Tech Lab IX
Making Maps with GPS Info

Sayre, Kashuba
Wrap-up & feedback


Have a safe trip home

Course Overview

Using a highly interactive combination of labs, practical exercises, and lectures, participants will learn to read and critically evaluate maps for their genealogical application. This course will feature a hands-on environment to explore various types of maps, atlases, and gazetteers available to genealogists including a visit to the Rucker Agee Map Collection at the Birmingham Public Library, a major regional resource. Emphasis will be placed on correlating information found on various maps with a variety of traditional sources - such as census, city directories, tax lists, and deeds.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the development of mapping in America.
  2. Employ a variety of finding aids to locate unfamiliar place names.
  3. Learn how to identify and locate maps to solve genealogical problems both in the library and online.
  4. Experience the variety of maps and map related products available to the genealogist - such as cadastral, topographic, fire insurance, resource, military, gazetteers, and atlases.
  5. Critically evaluate a map for its application in solving genealogical problems.
  6. Decipher map terminology and symbols.
  7. Use maps to study migration and settlement patterns.
  8. Locate military maps and correlate data from service records to appropriate maps.


None. However the course will include several computer labs and students should be comfortable using a Windows-based computer operating system.


Kashuba, Melinda. Walking With Your Ancestors, A Genealogist's Guide to Using Maps and Geography. Cincinnati: Family Tree Books, 2005 (will be available for purchase at Samford).

If you have a handheld Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver it would be helpful if you bring it; however, it is not required that you purchase one.

Land Track Courses

1. Land Records: Introduction (Christine Rose)   Covers all aspects of land including patents and grants, private claims, federal land case files, bounty land, deeds, mortgages, leases, and more.

2. Land Records: Land Platting and Analysis (Mary Bell)   Learning to plat and to put together a neighborhood based upon Virginia land patents of the 17th century. This course teaches various concepts such as the necessity of locating a geographical "anchor" so that you can place the patent on a 20th century topographical map; how to deal with interruptions such as creeks, roads, and missing lines. There is one session devoted to topographical maps so the student can understand how to use them fully. There is a night lab to illustrate the use of platting programs using some of the deeds the students have already platted in class.

3. Land Records: Maps and Related Records (Rick Sayre)   This course covers all types of maps--digital mapping programs (computer labs), the topographic maps, military maps, census maps, urban maps such as the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps, etc. It also goes into detail giving case studies and exercises for the student to learn to use the maps.

4. Land Records: Case Studies (Birdie Holsclaw)   The fourth year covers miscellaneous topics dealing with land that could not be fitted into year two. This includes Public Land problems (and believe me, there are many!!!),