Atlas of Historical County Boundaries
Copyright © The Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois 2010

USER HELP


TABLE OF CONTENTS


OVERVIEW

This interactive map provides comprehensive information about the evolution of the state's counties from the creation of the first county to the end of the year 2000.

This map has two goals:

  1. Make accessible in maps and text the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county at any date (day, month, and year) from the creation of the first county through 31 December 2000.
  2. Make it easy for readers to compare historical county configurations to modern ones.

Historical state and county boundary lines appear in black on the map, modern lines in white.


OPTIMIZING YOUR SYSTEM

This interactive map is designed to run properly using Internet Explorer 5.0 or above. Set the resolution of your screen display to 1024 x 768 pixels for optimum viewing and use.


INFORMATION PROVIDED


FEATURES

Interactive map itself with complementary data linked through the INFO and LINK buttons.

Chronologies. Click here to see either (1) a consolidated chronology of all changes in the boundaries and names of the state and its counties, the organization and attachments of the counties, and unsuccessful proposals for new counties or (2) individual chronologies for all counties. Both types of chronology include descriptions of changes too small to map and references to the sources for each historical change.

Sources. Click here to see a full list of the laws, maps, books, and Web sites used to compile the changes in the state and its counties. Annotations accompanying some entries point out notable strengths or weaknesses of the source or comment on its importance.

Special Topics. Click here to read about special aspects of the history of the state and its counties or of the materials and methods of historical compilation.

County Index. Click here to see a comprehensive list of all county names in the history of the state, including proposed and extinct counties, plus cross-references between different names for the same county. These names are linked to individual county chronologies.

Home. Click here to go to the home page of the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries.


HOW TO CHANGE THE DATE OF THE MAP

Each time you start the interactive map, it displays both the state's modern counties and its earliest historical counties. The effective date of the map on display appears in the upper right corner of the screen and next to the North arrow in the lower left corner of the map. To change the date, go to SELECT MAP DATE and change months and days by clicking on the arrows and selecting from the menus that appear. Change the year by deleting digits and replacing them with ones that make the year you want. Then click REFRESH MAP.


WORKING WITH MAP LAYERS

To view a layer:

(1) click on its VISIBLE box, then (2) click REFRESH MAP. Note that more than one layer can be visible at a time.

To activate a layer:

(1) click on its ACTIVE circle, then (2) click REFRESH MAP. Note that only one layer can be active at a time.

The INFO tool and several other tools apply only to the data in the active layer. Even though a layer may be activated without also being made visible, none of the tools will work on the data in a layer unless that layer is both active and visible.

To call up additional information about elements displayed in a layer:

Activate the layer: (1) click on its VISIBLE box, then (2) click on its ACTIVE circle, then (3) click REFRESH MAP. (Remember, even though several layers can be visible at once, only one layer can be active at a time.)

Then (4) click the INFO icon on the left side of the screen and (5) go to the map and click on the name or area in the active layer that you are interested in. An excerpt from the attribute table will appear at the bottom of the map.

If you want to see the chronology of a county that appears in the table, click on the county name in the table. (You also can reach the chronology of a county by clicking "Chronologies" at the bottom of the frame and selecting the county from the choices offered.)


DESCRIPTIONS OF MAP LAYERS

Modern County Seats. This layer displays modern county seats and indicates their locations with dots.

Unsuccessful Proposals. This layer displays counties that were proposed but never came into existence. The dates of proposal and other information about these failed attempts can be found in the chronologies.

Historical Counties. This layer depicts in black the boundary lines and names of the counties in existence as of the selected date. These lines are thin enough to permit readers to see the modern county lines when both lines are displayed together. To change the map, select a different date and click REFRESH MAP.

Modern Counties Names. This layer displays the names of all counties as of the end of the year 2000. These names appear as white letters on a medium dark (tan in color) background.

Modern Counties. This layer depicts the boundary lines of all counties as of the end of the year 2000. These lines appear as white lines, thick enough to be seen even when a black historical line is displayed at the same time and follows exactly the same course.

State Background. This layer uses a light shade (yellow in color) to fill the area of the modern state and to distinguish it from the white background on which the state is drawn.


TOOLS

Navigate the Map. Use the navigation tools to ZOOM-IN, ZOOM-OUT, PAN, or otherwise move around the map. By using the ZOOM-IN tool to get a closer look at the map, you can make out a high level of detail. You can also change the level of detail by making certain features visible or invisible in the MAP LAYERS. Use the REFRESH MAP button to update the map view after making changes to the visible layers.

LINK     To be linked to additional information on a historical county.

  1. Make HISTORICAL COUNTIES or UNSUCCESSFUL PROPOSALS the active (and visible) layer by clicking the VISIBLE box and the ACTIVE circle for that layer.
  2. Click the LINK tool.
  3. Click on any county area on the interactive map.
  4. A table will appear providing a chronology of all changes in the county, together with references to the historical compiler's sources.

INFO     To obtain additional information on a historical county in the active layer.

  1. Make HISTORICAL COUNTIES the active layer by clicking the VISIBLE box and the ACTIVE circle for that layer.
  2. Click the INFO tool.
  3. Click on any county area on the map.
  4. A table of additional information about the feature will appear. The information is accurate as of the date selected for the map. This table consists of excerpts from the attribute table that underlies the map on display. It gives the name of the county, the beginning and ending dates of its configuration as it appears on the map, a description of the event that produced those boundaries, its area in that configuration, and related data.

  5. Click on the county name in the table to see a chronology of all changes in that county, together with references to the historical compiler's primary sources.

QUERY     To locate counties that meet your query criteria.

  1. Make HISTORICAL COUNTIES or some other layer the active (and visible) layer.
  2. Click the QUERY tool.

  3. Compose a query string using the tools provided.
    a. Select a FIELD from the drop-down list.
    b. Select an OPERATOR from the drop-down list.
    c. Click on GET SAMPLES to view some field values.
    d. Click ADD TO QUERY STRING to create a query string.
  4. Click EXECUTE to submit the query. The area of each county that meets your criteria will be shown in yellow on the interactive map, and detailed information on each of those counties will appear in the query window.

You also can directly enter a query string. Complex strings can be entered to compare any variable in the database. Examples include:

Variable1 > Variable2
(Variable1 / Variable2) < Variable3

MEASURE     To find the distance between two locations or points.

  1. Click the MEASURE tool.
  2. Click on a location on the interactive map.
  3. Click on the second location. The program will display the distance between the two locations.
  4. Click the CLEAR tool to remove the distance information.

SELECT BY RECTANGLE     To select a group of counties by drawing a rectangle.

  1. Click the SELECT BY RECTANGLE tool
  2. Click and hold anywhere on the map to fix the starting point and move the mouse to draw a rectangle that covers at least part of each county you are interested in.
  3. The areas of the counties selected will be shown in yellow on the map, and a table of information about those counties will appear below the map.
  4. Click the CLEAR tool to clear the selection.

SELECT BY LINE/POLYGON     To select a group of counties by drawing a line or polygon.

  1. Click the SELECT BY LINE/POLYGON tool.
  2. Click and hold on the map to fix the starting point of the line, then drag the mouse to draw a line. All polygons intersected by the line will be selected.
  3. Options will appear that will allow you to convert your line into a polygon for selecting features. Follow directions to accomplish that change.
  4. The areas of the counties selected will be shown in yellow on the map, and a table of information about those counties will appear below the map.
  5. Click the CLEAR tool to clear the selection.

CLEAR     To clear the current selection, click the CLEAR tool.

PRINT     To print the current map (not the whole screen image).

  1. Click the PRINT tool on the left side of the screen.
  2. On the new window that opens, type in a title for your printed map.
  3. Click on the "Create Print Page" tool. A printable map will appear in a new browser window.
  4. Use the "File, Print" menu commands of your browser to print this page.

To print the full screen (map plus surrounding features).

  1. Press the PRINT SCREEN key on the keyboard. (That puts a copy of the screen onto the computer's "clipboard.")
  2. Open your computer's word processing program and start a fresh document.
  3. Paste the screen image into the document.
  4. Proceed to print the new screen-image document as you would any other word-processing document.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Atlas Staff:

John H. Long, Editor
Peggy Tuck Sinko, Associate Editor & Historical Compiler
Emily Kelley, Historical Compiler & GIS Digital Compiler
Laura Rico-Beck, GIS Specialist & GIS Digital Compiler
Peter Siczewicz, ArcIMS Interactive Map Designer
Robert Will, Cartographic Assistant

Copyright:The Newberry Library
Contact:Send questions or comments, or report suspected errors to:
Atlas of Historical County Boundaries
Dr. William M. Scholl Center for American History and Culture
The Newberry Library
60 W. Walton St., Chicago, IL 60610-3380.
Email: scholl@newberry.org
Phone: (312) 255-3524

This interactive map was constructed and operates through the program ArcIMS, v. 4, produced by Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI).

The map was produced by the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries Project, which has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent federal agency. It also has benefited greatly from support from The Newberry Library, the project's headquarters and sponsor, software grants from Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), and contributions from foundations and individuals.

Further contributions of individuals are recognized in the "Special Topics" section for each state.

USER HELP, Atlas of Historical County Boundaries
Copyright © The Newberry Library 2003