When my sisters and I are on a genealogy trip through Virginia and Kentucky, it is not unusual to find us all spread out on our beds in the evenings as we peruse maps of the area we are in. Many of those maps are the type you can pick up at the local Chamber of Commerce or public library for no cost at all.
Those maps can take us into every little nook and cranny and hill and holler of these ancestral places.
Once, while giving a genealogy class on maps, a man raised his hand and mentioned that I needed to get some Hildebrand maps. Okay. What's a Hildebrand map? He told me to just call the public library in Roanoke, Virginia and they would point me in the right direction.
So, I did. And, they did.
Apparently, J. R. Hildebrand was a cartographer who meticulously drew maps of several Virginia counties. It was hard for me to find out any more about him, as most google hits took me to a race car driver of the same name.
These maps are wonderful! One map of Franklin County, Virginia has at least a dozen of my ancestors on it. It covers the time period 1786 - 1886, includes the owner's name on each parcel of land, and the year he first appears in the county.
We ordered the entire set, which came to $96. Here is a list of the maps available:
- Roanoke Farms
- Fincastle County
- Wythe County
- Town of Salem
- Original Grants, Roanoke
- Beverly Patent, Orange & Augusta
- Borden Grant, west of Blue Ridge
- Pulaski County
- Rockbridge County
- Franklin County
- Augusta County
- Botetourt County
- Bedford County
- Montgomery County
Roanoke Public Library
706 South Jefferson Street
Roanoke, VA 24016
Ask for J.R. Hildebrand Settlement Maps. If they don't have them anymore, they can point you in the right direction.
My father taught me how to read maps. He felt it was important, since neither of his parents or his 10 siblings could read a map. In turn, when my own family traveled, my husband would outfit each of the kids with their own atlas and quiz them on how far it was to the next exit, the next rest area, the town we would be stopping at. They were all excellent with maps and geography in high school, and when three of the four would enter the U.S. Army, their orienteering skills were impeccable.
Gotta love maps!