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Each collection features a unique aspect of Michigan's history.


Surveyor Plat Maps


Plat Map

How might I use the this collection?How might I use the this collection?

This collection contains maps that document land surveys that were conducted by the federal government to lay out Michigan’s township and range grid system. Some maps documenting resurveys are also included. The maps show bodies of water and land formations throughout the state. You can use these maps to get an idea of what Michigan’s landscape was like pre-statehood.



Plat Map

How do I find things in this collection?How do I find things in this collection?

You can search for maps by the township and range numbers (“02N 12W,” for example), township name, or county name. Click on the Advanced Search link at the top of any page within Seeking Michigan to conduct a search. (Be sure to uncheck the checkbox for “Death Records” and select “GLO Plat Maps” instead.) If you’re searching by township and range number, you’ll need to search the title field. If you’re searching by township or county name, you can search by title, subject, or description. Some of the maps have multiple pages. When this is the case, you’ll be able to browse them on the righthand side of your screen after you open a result.



Plat Map

What's the story behind this collection?What’s the story behind this collection?

The initial survey of the State of Michigan was conducted primarily between 1815 and 1860. The federal government contracted land surveyors who earned between $3.00 and $4.25 per mile to pay their crews and cover supply costs. Crews usually conducted surveys in the winter because their line of sight was improved and they could walk across frozen lakes and ponds. Crews typically took about 20 days to survey a township with two surveyors, two axe men to trim brush, and two chain men.