In 1764, St. Louis was established along the west bank of the Mississippi River. Pierre Laclede selected this site because of the relationship to the Missouri River, Illinois River, and Meramec River. Over the years, the topography of the rivers has changed due to floods. Maps have chronicled many of these changes.
The French and Spanish land grants are diagramed on some maps, with the names of the first property owner. Other maps diagram the plantations and farms of the settlers from Virginia and Germany. The French brought the land measurement “arpents” to the area, with some maps showing these long, narrow strips of ground.
Maps that are more recent provide the location of schools, churches, and parks. Ward maps provide clues for the location of the World War I draft boards. The ward maps also provide clues for locating voter registration records. NEW ON STLGS: Click here for a PDF of ward maps from 1830 to 1880 census years. The Society has a CD available with ward maps for most presidential election years from 1908 through 1952. Click here for more information. A map showing St. Louis neighborhoods can be found at History of St. Louis Neighborhoods.
In any era, maps show the names of the neighbors, who may have been related to your ancestor. Maps are valuable resources for every genealogist.
Additional Map Information
Androit, John. Township Atlas of the United States. McLean, Virginia: Documents Index, Inc., 1991. [This book shows every county in the United States broken down into townships and indicates the location of the larger cities in each county.]
Atlas of the City & County of St. Louis by Congressional Townships. St. Louis: E. Dupré Lithographer, 1838. [Commonly called Dupré Atlas, this St. Louis County map has the names of the property owners plus a listing of Spanish and French land grants.]
Atlas of St. Louis. 10 volumes and [street] Index. St. Louis: St. Louis Plat & Record Co., 1905.
Dollarhide, William. Map Guide to American Migration Routes, 1735–1815. Bountiful, Utah: AGLL Genealogical Services, 1997.
Dry, Camille N. Pictorial Saint Louis 1876. 1876. Reprint, Hazelwood, Missouri: McGraw-Young Publishing, 1997.
Hutawa, Julius. Atlas of St. Louis County. St. Louis: Julius Hutawa, .
Missouri Atlas and Gazetteer. Yarmouth, Maine: DeLorme Mapping Co., 1998.
Missouri Conservation Atlas. Jefferson City, Missouri: Missouri Department of Conservation, 1997.
Pitzman, Julius. Pitzman’s New Atlas of the City and County of Saint Louis, Missouri. 1878, Reprint, St. Louis: St. Louis Genealogical Society, 1997. [Also available on a CD-ROM from the St. Louis Genealogical Society.]
Plat Book of St. Louis County, Missouri, 1909 Compiled from County Records and Actual Surveys. Des Moines, Iowa: Northwest Publications, 1909.
Rafferty, Milton D. Historical Atlas of Missouri. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1981.
Thorndale, William, and William Dollarhide. Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790–1920. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992.
Last modified: 27-Jan-2022 10:05