For many years, USGenWeb has been providing a valuable resource to the genealogical community. Volunteers have transcribed untold records across the country and make them available to the public for free. The USGenWeb is promoting their new website for maps.
The United States Digital Map Library was started in 1999 to provide access to “useful, readable, high quality maps.” The library contains both archival maps, and newer maps created from new and historical information. Maps are subdivided into three groups.
The first group, US Maps, contains maps of national interest. Included here are an 1845 map of North America, two maps that show U.S. principal meridians and baselines and a excerpts from a 1910 reference atlas of the world that includes maps of each state and of many large cities.
The second section, State and County Maps, breaks the country down in to the fifty states. By clicking on a state (either on a U.S. map or in the text links next to it), one is brought to a page that shows what is available for that particular state. In addition to state and county maps, some states have local maps as well. Not all states have maps.
The third section is a very interesting one. It contains Indian Land Cessions to the United States. These are treaty maps compiled by Charles C. Royce. They were published as the second part of the Eighteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1896–97, published in 1899.
While this all is a very worthwhile project, there is a part of the website that I find troubling. Their Submissions section includes information in the copyright area that is incorrect and misleading. They say that “In placing maps in the Archives, the following general guidelines have been used. . .” The first guideline reads (emphasis theirs):
“ALL items with an ORIGINAL publishing or copyright date prior to 1923 are public domain. Anyone, including the United States Digital Map Library, may use them and distribute them freely.”