Sources of Historical Maps and Other Information – The Gesher Galicia Map Room
Listed and linked on this page of the Gesher Galicia Map Room are a wide variety of resources which can be used to locate historical maps related to the former Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, the Duchies of Bukovina, Oświęcim, and Zator, the Grand Duchy of Kraków, and several other neighboring territories which at one time were part of Galicia in the erstwhile empire. Many of the sources listed here provide online tools for viewing and sometimes for downloading digitized versions of the maps. Most of these sources have been used to search and acquire maps in digital form for presentation in this Map Room.
The map sources listed here range from official national or university archives and libraries to the collections of NGOs and private individuals and the organized and/or loose postings of genealogical organizations. Some of the collections are remarkably comprehensive for selected types of maps or in the geographical or thematic focus of the research organization. The private collections are sometimes peculiar, even eccentric, but the specific interests of each collector and their strong investigative skills often help family historians and other researchers to find unique perspectives they might otherwise overlook.
The Gesher Galicia website includes a section on Record Inventories which features a search engine to identify the original archival records from which Gesher Galicia's databases were indexed and presented. Among the search categories is one for Maps, which identifies the archives and record numbers for all of the cadastral maps which appear in the Map Room. In addition to the search engine, there is also a subsection "About Archives" which provides reference information on the Polish and Ukrainian state archives from which most of Gesher Galicia's data (including cadastral maps) are acquired. Links to these archives are also listed below, which allows research into maps which are not already represented in the Map Room collection.
- State Archives of Poland, Ukraine, and Other Countries
- National Libraries and Related Portals
- University and Civic Libraries, Archives, and Institutes
- Non-Governmental Organizations and Institutes
- Private Collections and Commercial Projects
- Genealogical and Family History Organizations
- Other Map Sources
For other tools and information to support historical research using maps of former Galicia, see the References section in the Map Room.
State Archives of Poland, Ukraine, and Other Countries
The Warsaw building houses a large physical map room with extensive holdings, though only a small number of the maps feature former Galicia. The catalog is not searchable online, but some of the maps have been digitized.
Poland's largest collection of Galician cadastral maps; the best preserved maps can be browsed on the archive website (see record series 56/126/0/) and on the state archive search engine (see below). Other map types and related records are also housed here. See also an informal Gesher Galicia inventory.
Houses a large collection of final-state Galician cadastral maps, plus cadastral field and indication sketches, and many other map types as well. Digitized maps can be viewed online via the state archive search engine as the record series 29/280/0/ (see below).
Houses a large collection of Galician cadastral maps and sketches of mixed quality but often unique content. Many maps have been digitized but the catalog and the scans can be viewed at the archive building only. A catalog assembled by Gesher Galicia in 2014 is still mostly complete.
Poland: Katowice State Archive – Bielsko-Biała Branch (Archiwum Państwowe w Katowicach Oddział w Bielsku-Białej)
Houses a mixed collection of cadastral maps and indication sketches of towns and villages in the western districts of former Galicia, including some historically-important places not represented in other archives. Materials can be located using the Polish archive search engine (see below).
The state archives search engine provides open, guided access to holdings in all archives including digitized collections (where available). Helpful for accessing sub-archives covering former Galicia including in Bochnia, Nowy Sącz, Tarnów, Sanok, and Sandomierz.
Ukraine: Central State Historical Archives in Lviv, TsDIAL (Централний Державний Історичний Архів України м. Львів)
Preserves the largest collection of Galician cadastral maps of all types in Ukraine, plus property registers and many other related records. Catalogs are not available online, but some maps have been digitized and others can be ordered. See also an informal Gesher Galicia inventory.
Preserves a very good collection of cadastral maps of eastern Galicia including some in excellent condition; the collection is only somewhat geographical, i.e. there are maps of settlements outside the historical Tarnopol kreise.
Ukraine: State Archive of Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, DAIFO (Державний Архів Івано-Франківської Області)
Holds no original cadastral maps but preserves a fair collection of other types of eastern Galicia maps of other types (e.g. regional and street maps). The catalog must be accessed in the archive building, and no maps have been digitized, but archive visitors can photograph records.
A traditional archive with holdings from a millennium of Austrian history, including significant records and maps of the Habsburg Monarchy. Records normally must be accessed onsite in archive buildings but preliminary searches can be made using an online tool, and a special guide to family research is available.
The largest military archive in Central Europe preserves more than 600,000 maps and plans including the three immense military surveys of former Galicia and much more. Initial research can be conducted online and by email but only some records are digitized.
National Libraries and Related Portals
The main Warsaw building of this huge library system houses a large map room with atlases and individual maps covering all of historical Poland, including former Galicia under the Habsburgs and the Second Polish Republic. A catalog search engine is available on the website. Scans may be ordered of some items.
An online visual catalog of the National Library of Poland (see above) with a powerful search engine. Free registration with the site enables downloading of high-resolution images, including many historical maps of former Galicia as single items, series, and atlases.
This cultural database pulls from the largest Hungarian national archives and libraries including a maps and plans section presenting more than 100,000 items; featured are historical maps of Austria-Hungary including Galicia, and WWI battle maps.
A Czech research library with a large map collection. The Moll map collection of Bernhard Paul Moll mostly predates the formation of Galicia, but in the Varia section of the Atlas Austriacus one can find excellent maps of the evolving Austrian Empire and of early Galicia.
The digital portal to the French national library (BNF) includes a significant historical maps section with a large number of maps of Europe and its individual countries. Searches for Galicia and its cities may be boosted by using French spelling ("Galicie", etc.) but maps in all major European languages are available.
Aggregates a wide variety of European cultural heritage digital sources including galleries, libraries, archives and museums. Presents more than 25 million images, including many maps. Searches for Galician items do better using local-language spelling (Galicja, Galycyi, Galizien). Includes a large Maps and Geography topic.
As noted on the Library's website, "The British Library collection of maps, plans and views is one of the largest in the world, numbering some 4.5 million." Several unique maps in the Gesher Galicia collection were sourced here.
The vast National Library in St. Petersburg preserves many maps of Galicia viewed from the perspective of an adjacent empire, an aggressive power from the Partitions of Poland through World War I, and a persistent competitor throughout the imperial age. Several unique maps from the NLR are presented here.
The US LoC houses an extensive collection of more than 50,000 maps, which can be browsed by collections or searched by places and themes. Austrian Empire maps make up only a fraction of the collection, but the available maps are well presented.
University and Civic Libraries, Archives, and Institutes
The digital portal of consortium of libraries and museums in western Galicia led by Rzeszów University, this site and its search tools linked to the "dlibra" network include a "Galicjana" collection and a resource index for maps.
Polish Digital Repository of Scientific Institutes (Repozytorium Cyfrowe Instytutów Naukowych, RCIN)
A partnership between more than 25 Polish institutional libraries, including the Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IGSO PAS). Allows cross-instutution searches and publishes public domain materials including historical maps via the "dlibra" network.
An historic university with significant paper maps and other records with an emphasis on Galician lands. Web tools include an online Digital Library (Jagiellońskiej Biblioteki Cyfrowej).
A collaborative historical maps project between Klokan Technologies and many European and global university libraries plus several specialist national and private collections, the site employs MapRank geographical catalog searching. Already more than a half million maps are online.
A prominent geographical study program in Budapest, this institute is well-known for its online geographical-indexed presentation of the 3rd Military Mapping Survey of Austria-Hungary.
NYC's renowned library and digital collections include the Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division which features many maps of Europe including the detailed Spezialkarte der Osterreichisch-Ungarischen Monarchie.
Non-Governmental Organizations and Institutes
A non-profit project to digitize and publish historical map collections of the WIG plus other sources including Austro-Hungary. Presents many highly-detailed regional maps covering lands of the Second Polish Republic, including Galicia. Now transitioning to Mapster geographical map indexes (see below).
A meta-mapping project to geographically index digitized historical maps, primarily from the WIG archives collection (above). Easily the best introductory tool for locating historical maps of Galicia and a wide area around it. Click on any link to understand the tool, then search more carefully for specific map types.
Part of the Center's Urban Media Archive, the digital collection of nearly 200 historical street maps and plans of almost 20 Galician cities (with more than 60 maps of Lviv/Lwów/Lemberg alone) is one the best resources for studying urban development in Galicia from before Habsburg times to the late 20th century.
Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, JHI (Żydowski Instytut Historyczny im. Emanuela Ringelbluma, ŻIH)
ŻIH houses a significant archive of prewar and wartime Polish Jewish history, including a special collection of more than 200 maps and plans (Sygn. 245) which focuses strongly on Holocaust map records. Permission to view and use the maps can be requested at the ŻIH archive office and at the USHMM.
Private Collections and Commercial Projects
A guge digital map collections featuring more than 150,000 historical maps, atlases and globes. Primarily focused on the Americas, but there are historical maps covering Galicia from the 18th to the 20th century, and many more for Austro-Hungary. MapRank geographical searching simplifies catalog exploration.
A commercial technical project with generous free public resources, this site publishes georeferenced historical maps of Europe with special focus on Austria-Hungary. Cadastral map overlays of Galicia are missing but overlays of the Austrian military surveys are impressive.
Drawn from an extensive private collection of more than 10,000 maps and 1000 atlases and guide books, the site includes several map-illustrated articles feature themes from Jewish history, such as The Holocaust in Contemporary Maps and Jewish History on the Map (see section 2: Diaspora).
Genealogical and Family History Organizations
Among significant collections of Galicia-focused records, the Gesher Galicia Map Room presents historical cadastral maps plus street maps, regional maps, and "special" maps with unusual content. Map-related references and sources are also featured.
The largest Jewish genealogical resource in the world, curated by volunteers with broad scope and eclectic styles. Among the research and database sections, the KehilaLinks pages, especially those for Poland and Ukraine, feature old and new maps of hundreds of individual towns in former Galicia.
Miriam Weiner's genealogical resource website now includes digitized maps from her personal collection (acquired in region) as well as maps from unusual and valuable collections. Galicia is not specifically categorized but many of the maps of Polish and Ukrainian cities and regions cover the former kingdom.
Other Map Sources
Not a map source per se, but an excellent curated guide to Galician culture including maps and map sources, the blog post "Historical Maps of Galicia (1775-1918)" is a great introduction to the topic, and simply searching the website for "maps" will bring many examples and insights.
This personal website calls itself an "Atlas of the Shtetl", and together with an excellent selection of topographic (and other) maps it provides historical context to Jewish life in Russian and Austro-Hungarian lands via excerpts from scholarly essays and articles. Includes a nice overlay map of the changing borders of Galicia.
A digital historical map archive which calls itself "a paradise for map freaks". Provides context for many historical maps plus links to image collections which include some or all of Galicia, e.g. to three impressive historical series on Austrian Empire including the Scheda maps, plus Reymann's topographical series of Germany.