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Historical Map References, Tools, and other Information – The Gesher Galicia Map Room

Geological Map of Galicia 1873
A lettering guide for the preparation of lithographed cadastral maps of the Austrian Empire, from a detailed 1856 instruction handbook for surveying and cadastral cartography (source: the University and Regional Library of Tyrol). At the top of the page, an excerpt from a 1906 Austro-Hungarian land survey triangulation plan overview (source: WIG Map Archive).
This section of the Gesher Galicia Map Room serves as a catalog of pages with supplemental reference information to aid the research and understanding of historical maps of the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, the Duchy of Bukovina, the Grand Duchy of Kraków, and neighboring royal lands of the Habsburg Monarchy and its successor empires. The pages linked here are organized by type and theme. Together these pages complement historical information guides on the main Gesher Galicia website, in Gesher Galicia's quarterly research journal The Galitzianer, and elsewhere.

Resources for locating and acquiring maps are not listed here; for links to significant map repositories with holdings relevant to Galicia research, see the Sources page on this website.

Because of the importance of cadastral maps to research on historical families and communities (a core focus of Gesher Galicia), and because cadastral maps are not well-understood as a resource, much of the reference material linked here is focused on general and specific guides to the interpretation and use of these gems of 19th-century science and art. In addition to serious history and technical topics, we aim to present some lighter material as well, to add color to an appreciation of life in former Galicia. Feel free to browse these pages in any sequence, though some of the first-listed topics may provide helpful introductory information for those with little or no prior experience with the maps – and anyone with curiosity about this great resource.

An Introduction to Galician Cadastral Maps

What is a Cadastral Map?

What is a Cadastral Map?

A very brief introduction to cadastral maps, defining and describing these beautiful and valuable historical artifacts, and some of the several ways that Galician family historians and others can use them in their research.

The Habsburg Cadastral Survey and Map Initiative

The Habsburg Cadastral Survey and Map Initiative

A review in words and images of the history of the remarkable project to survey and map the entire Austrian Empire, from before Galicia existed to the end of World War I, with special focus on the immense scale and voluminous detail of the project.

Cadastral Map Development

Stages of Cadastral Map Development

An overview of the process of cadastral map creation during Galician times, and an explanation of how the unique features of the three map development stages (field sketch, indication sketch, final cadastral map) can be used today in family history research.

Digital and Print Literature

Digital and Print Literature Relevant to Historical Maps of Galicia

More than a hundred individual web and print resources covering cadastral and other maps are listed and linked, including complete books, book chapters, conference proceedings and presentations, journal articles, web encyclopedia articles, and blog posts.

Features of Galician Cadastral Maps

Cadastral Map Legends

Cadastral Map Legends

A variety of historical examples of these important keys to the interpretation of cadastral maps, each defining many to more than a hundred different symbols, line types, and color designations, plus lettering sizes and styles which define features of settlements; each legend is a work of art in itself.

Gesher Galicia is a non-profit organization carrying out Jewish genealogical and historical research on Galicia, formerly a province of Austria-Hungary and today divided between southeastern Poland and western Ukraine. The research work includes the indexing of archival vital records and census books, Holocaust-period records, Josephine and Franciscan cadastral surveys, lists of Jewish taxpayers, and records of Galician medical students and doctors - all added to our searchable online database. In addition, we reproduce regional and cadastral maps for our online Map Room. We conduct educational research and publish a quarterly research journal, the Galitzianer. Gesher Galicia is also organized for the purpose of maintaining networking and online discussion groups and to promote and support Jewish heritage preservation work in the areas of the former Galicia.

You can search our free All Galicia Database, Map Room, and archival inventories, and read about member benefits starting at $50 per year. You can also join online.

Our general contact address: info@geshergalicia.org