- Our United States Digital Map Library is only as good as its contributors. If you would like to be part of the Digital Map Library team and/or make contributions, please e-mail me, Deb Haines. Your contributions are both needed and appreciated!
We claim no copyright of scans of original pre-1922 maps which are in the public
domain. We require that all contributions be offered to us on a permanent basis. Please note, permanent basis does not mean exclusive basis. Additionally, we are not able to accept actual assignment of copyright. The copyright holders should remain free to use the map anywhere that they deemed proper. We do not want to limit the submitters’ ability to publish and/or sell their own work; we simply offer an organized, permanent place to make the work available to Internet researchers - and with free access to the files. We want to offer people an opportunity to share their work with others, in a central location on the Internet to provide that permanency.
You have permission to use any pre-1922 map graphic. Works that carry a visible copyright of others may not be used outside the USGenWeb Archives, United States Digital Map Library, or the USGenWeb Project without the express permission of those copyright holders.
Old maps often contain information that will help locate towns that no longer exist, or old landmark names that arent used anymore. Some good early maps can be valuable to genealogists in finding these long forgotten places. Unfortunately, good early maps are hard to come by and aren't inexpensive. Early cartographers relied on surveys which were not always accurate. This resulted in mistakes on early maps (for example, California is often depicted as an island). From our colonial times, up until about 1915, basic surveying was taught as a normal part of the mathematics curriculum up until about the eighth or ninth grade. The best of surveyors were then know as mathematicians but there were certainly many surveyors that barely qualified back then, and definitely would not qualify by today's standards. The surveying tools, originally made in Europe, finally began to be made here in the United States and by the 1850s, our American-made tools of trade were up to European standards. Interestingly, the first survey made in California was made with nautical instruments. It is after the 1850s that our surveying really made giant leaps forward. Better maps came with the better surveys. Up to the Civil War, really good county maps were very scarce. During that war, both sides were plagued with poor quality maps. Today, we have the excellent USGS maps to rely upon, and those maps should be part genealogists reference materials. Lastly, remember that all old maps will not qualify for inclusion in this project. Some modern made maps might better qualify for this project.
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