Germany, Topographic Maps, 1860-1965

This collection in Ancestry.com consists of a set of detailed maps at 1:100,000 scale (1 inch equals 1.58 miles) covering the entire German Empire (most maps are pre-World War II).

The maps are arranged in a grid pattern--each section of the grid covers a small area of Germany. There are multiple editions of each map section, published in different years, so changes can be seen over time.

Many of the maps provide a lot of detail, often showing both large cities and small villages, individual farms, stands of trees, roads, ponds, creeks, and other geographic features. You can Search or Browse This Collection (maps are in German).

Map showing Meiningen, Germany
Map showing Meiningen, Germany

To locate a particular map, you can try searching by name of the place. If that works, great! If not, you will need the latitude and longitude for the place of interest. If you don’t have it, you can check and see if Wikipedia has an entry for that place. If not, you can call us (314-539-0385)—we have a detailed gazetteer book set that provides latitude and longitude for even fairly small towns in Germany.

Once you have latitude and longitude, you need to look at the overview map (Übersichtsblatt) in Ancestry.com. The Übersichtsblatt is available in Browse This Collection. Using the latitude and longitude coordinates printed on the Übersichtsblatt, you can find the name and sheet number for the individual sheet map you want to view.

You can now Search using map name and the sheet number. You may also Browse This Collection, and select the sheet number range for the sheet that you want to view. Then select the actual sheet number followed by the year of interest.

I did a search for Meiningen, Germany. I found the latitude and longitude in Wikipedia:

50 degrees 33 minutes North, 10 degrees 25 minutes East

I used those coordinates to find the individual sheet map of interest in the Übersichtsblatt:

464—Meiningen

I then used Browse This Collection to select the correct sheet map (these years are available for Meiningen: 1909; 1912; 1921; 1924; and 1936). You can then print the map section of interest, email the map, or save the map as a PDF.

A list of reference databases that SLPL subscribes to is available here. Ancestry.com is not available for home use--it must be used at Central Library or one of our branch libraries.

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