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Michigan State University

Using the Michigan County Histories and Atlases online collection: Finding & Downloading Maps


  1. Access the Michigan County Histories site.  This site is freely available to the general public, no login or password is needed.
  2. Choose the "Boolean Search" method of searching the database.
  3. Type in a search term. This will probably be either a surname or a township name. Note: character recognition of the largely handwritten maps can be problematic.
  4. In the "limit to" section of the search screen, type the name of the county, pull down the list next to the search box and choose "title".  Though title words vary a lot, you can usually count on the county name being somewhere in the title. If you only want maps, type the word "atlas" into the second search box, pull down the list next to the search box and choose "title".

4.  If that doesn't work, you may instead browse "manually" through a book page-by page. Look at the book's Table of Contents and note the page number of the feature you want. Then pull down the list of page numbers to select that page.


 5.  Use the zoom button to zoom into the image.  Oversized atlases often aren't scanned large enough to read all the text.  Try exporting as a PDF to make the text more legible (see print/export tab at the top of this screen).


Subject Guide

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Kathleen Weessies
she / her
Geosciences Librarian; Social Sciences Coordinator; Head, Map Library
MSU Libraries
366 W. Circle Drive E240
Michigan State University