Plat books are atlases that show land ownership for rural areas. They generally feature one township (36 square miles) per page and focus on rural property ownership. Sections, roads, railroads, urban extent, township maps, county maps, and an index to property owners are usually included. Nineteenth-century county plat books, sometimes called “county histories,” often included family biographies, portraits, and illustrations of homes and prized livestock. Contemporary commercial plat book publishers tend to focus on specific geographic regions.
A set of current plat books for Illinois counties published by the Rockford Map Company is located behind the circulation desk in the Map Library. They may be borrowed, with appropriate ID, for two hours. Less recent plat books for Illinois counties published by the Rockford Map Company are located in the Main Stacks (STX), and normal borrowing rules apply.
Photocopy reproductions and microfiche reproductions of mid-to-late nineteenth-century land ownership wall maps held by the Library of Congress are also available for consultation in the Map Library.
The Illinois History and Lincoln Collections Library holds nineteenth-century county histories and atlases that often include plat maps.
When searching for Illinois county plat books or land ownership maps in the online catalog, the subject heading for them is very specific. It is: Real property [US State] [County Name] Maps.
State Holdings of Land Ownership Maps
The Map Library has microfiche copies of mid-to-late nineteenth-century county land ownership wall maps held by the Library Congress for the states listed below.
Please note that if you are searching for counties in these states, use the subject search “Real property – [state name] – maps.” The resulting set record will list all of the counties and publication dates included.
Plat Book and Land Ownership Web Resources
Illinois State Library Location Guide of General Land Office Plat Maps A guide to locating plat maps.
Illinois Federal Township Plats (1804-1891) Scans of 3,457 plats in the collection of the Illinois State Archives that were surveyed by the office of the U.S. Surveyor General and the General Land Office.
Rockford Map Publishers Map publishers specializing in land ownership, parcel boundaries, acreage information, and geographic features.
Farm and Home Publishers Based in Iowa, FHP publishes plat maps, plat books, and directories.
General Land Office Records (GLO) Digitized federal land titles from 1820 to the present and survey plats and fields notes dating back to 1810.
Illinois County Land Ownership Maps and Atlases A checklist of the State Librarys collection of nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first century plat books and maps.