Friday, January 13, 2012

Kansas Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map Carbondale, KS 1892
In the late 1860s the Sanborn Map Company of Pelham, New York began surveying the business districts n towns and cities of the United States.  This would provide insurance underwriters with detailed information that would be necessary to assess their liability for insurance purposes.  The survey included the size, shape and construction of homes, commercial buildings and factories.  Property boundaries, names of streets, the use and buildings, along with house and block numbers was included.  This makes the use of Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps very appealing to the genealogists.

The University of Kansas houses and provides access to a collection of Sanborn maps for 241 towns and cities in Kansas ranging from 1883 through the 1930s.  The maps from 1883-1922 have been digitized and can be viewed at their website.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map Beloit, KS 1911
While it may take some time to search through the maps, it is worth the time if you have Kansas ancestors.  Once you locate a map of interest, it can be adjusted for viewing, making it smaller or larger.  You can also select a size for exporting the map, or make a printer friendly copy of the map.  In a small thumbnail group at the top of the screen you will see other maps in the set for the same location.

If you do not have Kansas ancestry, be sure to check for other Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps in a search on Internet.  You may be surprised at what turns up!

1 comment:

Kathleen Brandt, Professional Genealogist said...

The Midwest Genealogy Center, Independence, MO. also has a collection of the maps.