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Bring back the interactive map, please!

There are a few sites that, to a genealogist, are simply indispensable.

If The Legal Genealogist absolutely had to, I could live without some of the sites that are in my genealogy toolbar, or my key bookmarks list.

But very high on the list of sites I can not do without is the interactive map of historical county boundaries at Chicago’s Newberry Library.

When you have families, like mine, that migrated during the early days of the Revolutionary War to Rowan County, North Carolina, and then lived in Burke County, Yancey County and Mitchell County — but never moved after arriving in North Carolina — you really need the interactive map database at the Newberry Library.

It’s the easiest, most complete, site to track county boundaries. As the site says, it has “(m)aps and text covering the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county, extinct county, and unsuccessful county proposal from the creation of the first county through 31 December 2000.”1

You can “(c)hoose a date (day, month, and year) to view historical county configurations against the modern county network. Use the toolbar to zoom, pan, measure, view descriptions and citations, or print a desired map.”2

Well, you could do all those things, that is… until now.


As you can see, right now, if you go to the Newberry Library website and go to the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries page, you get a message right at the top.

One that makes my heart stop dead in its tracks.

Please note: the interactive map portion of this site is temporarily unavailable.

And, underneath that, a box for data entry with the comment “Enter email address to receive notification when this functionality has been restored.”

Now any time you see a message like this, you know that the most likely situation is that there’s some sort of technical glitch that will take some serious resources to fix… and that those serious resources won’t be committed unless and until the site has evidence that the missing functionality is important to the site’s users.

In other words, if we don’t tell the Newberry Library that we really really want and need this functionality back, we may well lose it forever.

So you know what we need to do, right?

You got it: head right over to the Newberry Library website, to the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries page, and add your email address to the list of those that need to be notified “when this functionality has been restored.”

When, not if.


Please, dear Newberry… please…


  1. Atlas of Historical County Boundaries,” entry for New Jersey, Newberry Library ( : accessed 20 July 2015).
  2. Ibid.
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