Minnesota Maps

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This entry was originally written by Carol L. Maki and Michael John Neill for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
Minnesota sil.png
the Minnesota Family History Research series.
History of Minnesota
Minnesota Vital Records
Census Records for Minnesota
Background Sources for Minnesota
Minnesota Maps
Minnesota Land Records
Minnesota Probate Records
Minnesota Court Records
Minnesota Tax Records
Minnesota Cemetery Records
Minnesota Church Records
Minnesota Military Records
Minnesota Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Minnesota Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Minnesota Immigration
Minnesota Naturalization
Ethnic Groups of Minnesota
Minnesota County Resources
Map of Minnesota

A. T. Andreas, An Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Minnesota (Chicago: the author, 1874) was the first county atlas of Minnesota. It includes the county maps, cities and townships, illustrations of private homes and businesses in the state, portrait sketches of important citizens, and statistical information. The original atlas is quite scarce, with the only existing copies sometimes available through dealers of rare books. It has, however, been republished as Winona County Historical Society's Atlas of the State of Minnesota, Andreas, 1874 (Evansville, Ind.: Unigraphic, 1976), providing an excellent genealogical reference tool. A companion to it is Paul J. Ostendorf's Every Person's Name Index to An Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Minnesota (Winona, Minn.: St. Mary's College, 1979).

County atlases for Minnesota include maps for the respective county and for townships within that county. The names of property owners are frequently included on these maps. The Minnesota Historical Society has microfilmed many of these atlases, which makes them accessible on interlibrary loan.

Library of Congress Fire Insurance Maps in the Library of Congress; Plans of North American Cities and Towns Produced by the Sanborn Map Company (Washington D.C.: Library of Congress, 1981) states that the earliest map of this type for Minnesota is for 1884. There is, however, a Sanborn map for the city of St. Paul for 1875; this map is located at the map library of the Minnesota Historical Society.

The map collection of the Minnesota Historical Society consists of over 35,000 individual maps and 1,300 atlases, the majority of these for Minnesota and the Midwest. The society is a five-state regional depository for the U.S. Geological Survey maps (see page 5). It has extensive collections of Minnesota territory and state maps, county and city maps, and fire insurance maps of over 950 Minnesota towns and cities. There are random maps and plat maps in the county records at the Minnesota Historical Society Research Center. The map library of the Wilson Library at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, is an outstanding cartographic repository, not restricted to Minnesota. It includes worldwide maps and associated material. For further information, see the following references:

  • Treude, Mai. Windows to the Past: A Bibliography of Minnesota County Atlases. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, 1980.
  • Upham, Warren. Minnesota Geographic Names: Their Origin and Historic Significance. 1920. Reprint. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 1969. This is also online at http://mnplaces.mnhs.org/upham.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation, Room B-20, St. Paul, MN 55155, provides a series of current state, county, and city maps.