The Happy Map-maker's Web Site


My hobbies are genealogy and making maps and everything related to maps. I am currently engaged in a project to map all the early land grants in Harford and Baltimore Counties in Maryland. which is about 98% finished, but never will be 100%.

A note: This web site is designed to be very simple and to be considerate to those who do not have high-speed Internet connections. There is no unecessary graphics or glitz that just takes up download time, and I'll try to warn you on any link to large files.

Interesting map stuff

This link depicts the development of Baltimore and Harford Counties by showing the progression of land grants in Baltimore and Harford County

Searching aids

The Maryland Archives contains thousands of data items arranged in a manner that might make sense to the archivists - but which makes little sense to most users who need to hunt around for things. For example, why is the list of Baltimore City Block Books contained in three different Series: CE9, C2838, and CM196? And why do none of these actually provide access to the data (even though "CE" is supposed to mean "electronic")? It is only after a lot of trying that the user realizes that this data must be accessed through v3.mdlandrec.net for Baltimore City which takes one directly to the same listing, CE9, but this time the links to get the real data are showing.

When you get to an index on the Maryland Archives web site, some of them are difficult to use because a single data set contains hundreds of pages in alphabetical order, or is broken up into many small parts, so it takes a lot of time just to get to the right part of the alphabet. I have been producing indexes for these indexes which help to save time.

         

Help is needed to locate some electronic records at the Archives that are supposed to be available, but are not because of broken links. While I continue to search for these and enquire at the Archives, if anyone has information on how to find them, I would appreciate suggestions.

Leases and land grants in Baltimore and Harford Counties

For the past 12 years, I have been researching land records for Baltimore County, which, before 1771, included Harford County. All the data has been plotted using a program called DeedMapper, so it was accessible only with that program. The latest version 4.2 provides a capability of creating a web site so that those without the DeedMapper program can see the plots and data associated with each plot. I have provided separate web pages for Baltimore and Harford Counties which show most of the tracts I have plotted. I still have a few hundred that have not been placed, like the pieces of a jig-saw puzzle that sit around the edge of the table until their place is found.

On each of these maps, leases are shown in gold, mostly from the 1740-1760 time period when the Proprietor was granting 99-year leases for land in the "Reserve". After the Revolution, many of these leases were incorporated into grants of land. Those shown in black are mostly patents, or grants of land. Each of these will take some time to download, since each totals about 8MBytes.

    

Note that these maps use SVG, a newer language for web browsers, so some browsers do not fully support them. They have been tested with the following and appear to function okay (but maybe with a few quirks due to the sad state of affairs with compliance with the "standard" by these companies):
  • Opera 11 and 12
  • IE 9 and 10
  • Firefox 18

Other info on land grants in Harford County

This section provides a list of all tracts plotted so far in Harford County, giving name, date, area, grantee, whom surveyed for (if different), reference, and grid location. >> More info

My Lady's Manor

This historic district is the 10,000 acre manor, mostly in Baltimore County, but part in Harford, which the third Lord Baltimore granted to his fourth wife in 1713. Parcels were leased in the 1740's and 1750's and much tobacco was grown, which was rolled in hogsheads on the "Rolling Rd", or Joppa/Manor Rd to the port in Joppa (which goes right by the house of the owner of this web site). During the Revolution, the land was confiscated from its British owners and, after the war, was auctioned off, mostly to military veterans. >> More info

My ancestors

Besides mapping, I have spent considerable time tracing my family. >> More info

Music

When not doing many other things, my wife Kim writes and sings songs about experiences we have had in our many travels. Here is a collection.