Using Military Maps in Genealogy

Using Military Maps in Genealogy


by Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA

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Using Military Maps in Genealogy


Military maps have some obvious value to the family researcher. If our person of interest was in a military unit or fought in a battle we might want to understand the battle or locate his unit, knowing he was there at that time and place. However, even if our research subject was not in the military, we should consider the possibilities. Many military maps are large scale (show a lot of detail) and many show property owners. In the Civil War era it was common to navigate by referring to a location by the land owner’s name. Your ancestor’s house may have been identified on the battlefield map as a reference point, or served as a hospital. A farm may have been turned into a cemetery. Also rivers and fords tend to be annotated on these maps.  


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Presenter: Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA

Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA, a retired colonel who served 31 years in the U.S. Army, is a long-time researcher and instructor in genealogical topics. Rick is current secretary and immediate past president of BCG. He coordinates the Advanced Land course and the Using Maps in Genealogy course offered by the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), and he instructs in several other courses at SLIG. Rick co-coordinates with Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL, the Law School for Genealogists course at Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) and the Family History Law Library course at SLIG. He also lectures at national conferences and presents nationwide seminars. His areas of expertise encompass records of the National Archives, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Daughters of the American Revolution, including military records, land records, using maps in genealogy, urban research, and government documents. Rick specializes in the localities of western Pennsylvania and Ohio.
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