2 hour school delay this morning – yes! I love these unexpected chunks of free time when I don’t feel guilty for doing some genealogy surfing!

This morning, I was looking at some genealogy newsletters that I get in my email and I saw a hint to take a map of the area you are researching and to draw concentric circles 5, 10, 15, etc. miles out from the location of your ancestor to see when places on the map might be likely places to research for more information on an ancestor. In the article, it mentioned USGS web site as a great resource for downloading topographic maps – and what a goldmine I feel like I’ve found!

The area of Kentucky that I research is very hilly and covered with little creeks and branches from the Cumberland River. I’ve always intended to take a more detailed look at the County Map that I have to pinpoint the different waterways that have been mentioned. The waterways are always mentioned in the tax records to show the location of the land being taxed.  The maps I’ve found on USGS are excellent for this type of research and you can download them for free!

So now, my plan is to take a look at my County map to make a list of the towns around my ancestor’s locations and to download the maps that are available to put on my research wall. I think that till now, I’ve been a “can’t see the trees because of the forest” kind of person. I know I have the County map, but I’ve never taken the time to focus on which part of the county my ancestors are in – something I should have done loooooooooooooooong ago. This will be my opportunity to do that!