The Happy Map-Maker's Website

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 unnecessary graphics or glitz that just takes up download time, and I'll try to warn you on any link to a large file. Many of the pages and images require a large screen, preferably 1920 pixels wide. Most are not designed to be viewed on a small screen or smart-phone. The Back button or symbol on your browser should always work correctly, unlike many web sites.

Genealogy searching aids for Baltimore (City and County)

The Maryland Archives (and a few other sources) contain thousands of data items arranged in a manner that is somewhat confusing to most users who need to hunt around for things. 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. Another source is, but, here again, some indexes are very confusing, since they are computer generated, usually displaying in alphabetical order by whatever title had been entered for each item, rather than something simple like chronological. Often, they are not in any meaningful order, or multiple data sets have been interleaved. I have been producing indexes for these indexes which help to save time. This data concentrates on those items which are actually online.


DeedMapper support files

For use with the DeedMapper Program only.

For the past 20 years, I have been researching land records for Baltimore County, which earlier included Harford County, Cecil County, and part of Carroll. All the data has been plotted using a program called DeedMapper, so it was accessible only with that program. You can get the program at DeedMapper by Direct Line Software. I have plotted over 20,000 surveys. My databases are accessible below. The first two are about 99% complete, but others are works in progress. DeedMapper provides a capability to place a map image "behind" the deed display, which is essential in fitting together the "puzzle", and in understanding where each deed exists in the real world. I have used various tax and property line maps provided by the respective counties, since many of the original patent lines from the 17th century survive today in modern property lines. The following provide links to the files you need:


If you don't have DeedMapper, information from my databases can be viewed in the following 5 sections:

Leases and land grants in Baltimore, Harford, and Cecil Counties

For use if you do not have the DeedMapper Program

The latest version 4.2 of DeedMapper 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 each County which show most of the tracts I have plotted. I still have a few dozen 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 totals about 8 MBytes.


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

The progress of development in Baltimore and Harford Counties

These links depict the development of Baltimore and Harford Counties by showing the progression of land grants in


Using GoogleEarth

Another way to look at these leases and grants is by using GoogleEarth. You must first install GoogleEarth on your computer (which is free). Then, after starting the program, "Open" one or more of the following files. (Or you may be able to click on the link, and then select "Open with Google Earth".) Due to inaccuracies, these plots may be off by about 100-200 ft. In many cases, the correct position can be seen from ground features like edges of fields and roads.

When you point to a line, the corresponding label "bounces" and, if you click on the line, the identity of the parcel is shown. To highlight a property, right click on the "box" or line, select "properties", then "Style, Color", and change the color and width so it stands out. Or use Google Earth features to display only the desired tract.

Using Baltimore County MyNeighborhood

This powerful mapping tool can also be used to display the above files (in Baltimore County). Go to Click on the "Add Data" widget (icon of a clipboard at top), select "URL", select "A KML file", then copy one or the following URL's into the text box:

This also works with any mapping site that allows the use of KML files, such as


Maps of several specific areas can be seen in the following. The following functions can be used on these maps:

  • Click on a parcel to highlight its boundaries and display information about it.
  • Shift, click on any spot for a full list of all land grants on this map.
  • Alt, click to alternate between a topo and tax map for the background.

Areas available:        

These maps may not work with every version of every browser. This is due to the failure of the standards committees to produce a real, lasting HTML standard and of the companies for implementing their own "non-standard" extensions which they then had to abandon in later versions. These maps should work okay with Netscape 7, IE 7, Opera 8.5, and Firefox 3 and later.

My Lady's Manor

This historic district is the 10,000 acre manor, mostly in Baltimore County and 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 my house). During the Revolution, the land was confiscated from its British owners and, after the war, was auctioned off, mostly to military veterans. >> More info

Ladew Topiary Gardens

The world-renowned Ladew Topiary Gardens were started by Harvey S Ladew who bought this property in 1929, referred to as "Pleasant Valley Farm", although unknown why. >> More info

My ancestors

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

Music/Videos/Slide shows

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