Monday, April 13, 2009

Online Plat Book Indexes, an idea whose time has come?

If your research targets lived in Monroe County, Wisconsin, the Local History and Genealogy Room allows you to search for them in the county's 1877, 1897, 1915, and 1948 plat books. More counties should get on this bandwagon, reminding on-line folks of the importance of land records (few of which are digitized or indexed on line), and of geography itself as a part of genealogy.

The good folks at Census Finder have state maps with counties and links to online maps of some of them, including plat maps. You can check out your favorite state either by scrolling halfway down the main page and picking a state to see its county map and list -- or by simply typing into your browser's address bar, substituting the state's two-letter postal abbreviation for "xy."

I found many Midwestern counties with beautiful graphic displays of one or more plat books, but only two others with actual indexes: Eau Claire County, Wisconsin for 1910, and Lee County, Illinois, for (hold your breath) 1863, 1872, 1900, 1921, 1935, and 1941. Lee County may be small but it's mighty in genealogy. My great-grandparents lived there for many years but owned no land.

Ironically, doesn't have Monroe County's plat book indexes listed yet.

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