Recently, I provided a table of gazetteers that are useful for Polish genealogy. Maps are similarly useful tools for locating places where our ancestors lived, and it’s nice to incorporate them into any written family history to provide geographic context. As a bonus, some old maps can be quite beautiful as well. Additionally, thanks to utilities such as Google Maps, it’s possible to create and share unique custom maps that can provide insight into genealogical research questions. Some of the custom maps I’ve created for my own research include a map of birthplaces of Irish immigrants to St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, described here, and this map showing the places of residence around the world for all my ancestors who were alive in 1857, described here. Instructions for creating custom maps such as these are here. For a discussion of Galician cadastral maps, where to find them and how to use them, please see here. A really nice article about using maps in your research, which includes a good discussion of map scale, is here.
The table below provides an annotated list of some of my favorite sources for maps, with an emphasis on sites offering maps relevant to Polish genealogy. Please note that the table is best viewed on a computer, rather than a tablet or mobile device. Happy researching!
|Source||Map Date||Geographic Coverage||Link||Remarks|
|Mapster: Mapy archiwalne Polski i Europy Środkowej||15th–20th century||Poland & Central Europe||Locality search engine is here.|
Map index page is here.
|Includes maps from Archiwalne Mapy Pomorza Gdańskiego, Archiwum Map Wojskowego Instytutu Geograficznego 1919 – 1947 and Archiwum Map Zachodniej Polski, in addition to maps from private collections, archives, and public libraries. Use locality search engine to find all maps on which a locality appears, or use drop-down menu on map index page to select map collections organized by type, date, and scale.|
|Austro-Hungarian Military Maps||c. 1910||Central Europe||Map index is here.||265 downloadable map sheets at 1:200,000 scale. Place names are in German. Coverage area only extends 30’ north of the 53rd parallel (a little north of Łomża, Mława, Bydgoszcz, etc.) so northern parts of Poland are excluded.|
|David Rumsey Map Collection||1550–present||Worldwide||Map collection is here.||Premier site for 150,000+ georeferenced, interactive, historical maps. Numerous tools allow user to create, compare, overlay, save, and share maps.|
|Polona Maps||16th–20th century||Worldwide||Maps & Atlases||Website of the National Library of Poland.|
|Mapa Szukacz||Current||Present-day Poland||Interactive map is here.||Diacritics not needed. Place search offers predictive text, which can be helpful when place names are misspelled in source document (but only if first few letters are legible). Identifies gmina seat for each location, helpful if research requires correspondence with civil registry (USC) for the location.|
|Arcanum Maps (formerly Mapire)||18th–20th century||Europe||Maps are here.||Maps are georeferenced, and user can toggle transparency between the historical and modern map. Includes maps of Prussia (1877), Russia (1872), and the First, Second, and Third Military Surveys of the Hapsburg Empire (including Galicia). Places in the Russian Empire can be searched by Polish names (with or without diacritics), even though Russian is used on the map. Available cadastral maps do not extend as far north as Poland.|
|Szukajwarchiwach||?–present||Worldwide, but emphasis on present & historical Poland||Search portal for the holdings of the Polish state archives plus numerous additional institutions, with an entire category of maps. Type in a town, county, or province name and select “Mapy/Maps” to filter search results. Scans of maps not currently digitized online can be ordered from archive. Use of diacritics may influence search results; try searching with and without for best results.|
|National Geoportal||present day||Poland||English version of map page is here. |
Home page (Polish) is here.
|Site can be used in English, and permits viewing of current cadastral data, road maps, etc., overlaid onto satellite map, by ticking desired options in “Map Contents” box.|
|Topographic Maps of Eastern Europe||late 18th–early 20th century||Central & Eastern Europe||Home page is here.||Offers a variety of small- to large-scale maps, some curated from other collections, in the context of Jewish communities and history.|
|Foundation for East European Family History Studies (FEEFHS) Map Collection||Mostly 19th– and early 20th-century; some older||Eurasia, with an emphasis on maps of Central & Eastern Europe||Map library is here.||Assortment of historical, administrative, and themed maps at varying map scales. To view and save maps in high resolution, hover cursor over upper right corner of map until viewing options appear, and then open map in new window.|
|FBC: Federacją Bibliotek Cyfrowych||?–21st century||Worldwide||Home page is here.||Search portal for digitized holdings of Polish libraries, museums, and universities. Search “mapa polski” (for example) and browse results.|
|Old Maps of Lithuania and the Baltics||18th–20th century||Lithuania & the Baltics||Lithuanian website offering maps at scale 1:2,000–1:100,000, including city plans. Site requires use of FlashPlayer plugin.|
|Gesher Galicia Map Room||18th–20th century||Galicia (presently divided between southeast Poland and western Ukraine)||Maps are here.||A smorgasbord of regional maps, street maps, cadastral maps, interactive data maps, and thematic maps at a variety of map scales.|
|Archiwum Map Wojskowego Instytutu Geograficznego 1919 – 1947||Mostly 20th century, a few from 19th century||Poland & Central Europe||Polish version is here.|
English version is here.
|Topgraphic maps created by the Wojskowy Instytut Geograficzny, or Polish Military Geographical Institute (1919-1939), in map scales ranging from 1:10,000 to 1:500,000. All maps also available from Mapster.|
|Archiwum Map Zachodniej Polski||Late 19th–mid 20th century||Western Poland (formerly Germany), northern Poland||Home page is here. Map index page is here.||1:25,000 scale maps; although the emphasis is on maps of western Poland, the map index page includes maps of places in the Mazowieckie, Podlaskie, & Warminsko-Mazurskie provinces. Maps are included in Mapster.|
|Archiwalne Mapy Pomorza Gdańskiego||20th century||Pomorania (Gdańsk region, northwestern Poland)||Home page is here.||Maps ranging in scale from 1:25,000 to 1:300,000. Maps are included in Mapster.|
|Wikimedia Atlas of Poland||Maps depicting prehistoric era–present day||Current & historical borders of Poland||Atlas is here.||Potpourri of historical, administrative, satellite, and themed maps of Poland and Polish lands.|
|Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe (SGGEE) Map Collection||19th and 20th century||Central & Eastern Europe||Scanned maps index is here.|
Additional map links here.
|Themed maps relating to German settlements in Poland and Eastern Europe.|
|Old Maps Online||Pre-19th-century to present day||Worldwide||Home page is here.||Offers maps in a variety of scales and themes. Site allows you to zoom into an area of interest, and available maps that include that area will be shown on the right.|
|U.S. Library of Congress||12th-century–present||Worldwide||Maps pertaining to Poland are here.||Collection includes a modest number of maps of Polish lands.|
Featured image is, “Mappa jeneralna Województwa Mazowieckiego ułożona według naylepszych zrodeł przez Juliusza Colberg,” [General map of the Mazowieckie Voivodeship arranged according to the best sources by Juliusz Colberg] from the Atlas Królestwa Polskiego [Atlas of the Kingdom of Poland] by Juliusz Colberg (Warszawa : w Instytucie Litogr. Szkol., 1827); digital image, Polona (https://polona.pl/ : 27 May 2022).
© Julie Roberts Szczepankiewicz, 2022