Saturday, February 20, 2016

My 4th Great Grandfather's Land--Cadastral Maps

My great-great-great-great grandfather was Dovid Rutner (about 1794-September 25, 1872).  According to family stories (from branches other than mine, which has no family stories about Rutners prior to my great-great grandparents), Dovid was the first Rutner to come to the Maramaros area, from Galicia.  They said that he was relatively weathy and owned land and sheep.  I have his death record (in Kolodne).  But now I can visualize the land he owned--and maybe where those sheep grazed.

The Austria-Hungarian Empire had cadastral maps, which basically were visual land records that were used for tax and military purposes (more background, with an automatic translation from German can be seen here).  These maps can  have a ton of information as you look through them, and more and more are being put online.  And look what I found!
Dovid Rutner's Land

In the above map, to the left of the word "Dulfalva" is a large green plot of land (with another plot of land in the middle)--labeled "Rutner David."  This 1865 cadastral map has my gggg grandfather living in the town of Dulfalva (modern-day Dulovo, Ukraine), which is next to the town of Kolodne where he later passed away.  Below his name says Darva--the Hungarian name for what is now Kolodne.  So it looks like he lived in Kolodne but had land in Dulovo!
Dovid Rutner's Land, Closeup

There are a huge number of plots of land dividing up the town.  Very few of the names were of Jews, so the fact that David Rutner owned a relatively large plot of land is extra intriguing.
Location of Dovid Rutner's Land--just to the left of the centered "Dulfalva."

So how can you find these maps for your family's towns?  If your family is from Galicia, Gesher Galicia has many of these cadastral maps for a variety of towns.  If your family is from any of the following counties, you can go here to see if your town is covered.  Maramaros, Ugosca, Bereg, Ung, Hajdu, Pest-Pilis-Solt-Kiskun, Veszprum, Gyor, Moson, Sopron, Vas, Varasd, Belovar-Koros, Zagrab, Modrus-Fiume, Lika-Korbava, Szerem, Poszega, Veroce, Baranya counties.

Counties covered are in current-day Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, Poland and Croatia

Note that some of the towns (Kolodne being one, unfortunately) only have plot numbers on their map, not names.  However, these numbers are sometimes mentioned on vital records, so if you do have a plot/house number from another source, you can find its location on one of these maps.

Happy hunting!

Note:  I'm on Twitter.  Feel free to follow me (@larasgenealogy).

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  1. Lara, I am familiar with these cadastral maps from my area of Galicia. Usually, the maps that include landowner names are preliminary maps; the finished maps just have building plot numbers and farm plot numbers, as you noted. However, property owner records showing who owned which plots were created at the same time. I know these records still exist for many towns in Galicia. You might inquire of the Hungarian archives whether they have the corresponding records for towns such as Kolodne. Feel free to contact me for help interpreting such records, as I have quite a bit of experience with them.

    1. Thank you! I'll definitely try that.

    2. Russ makes a great point. Also, be careful when correlating house numbers across sources. At least in the Greek Catholic records I've used, the house numbers given do not match the house numbers on the cadastral maps. The cadastral map has a set of associated documents called "operats" that cross-reference the maps to numbered lists of names and land amounts. The lists also cross reference the numbered lands on the lists with the numbered houses on the vital records and in my experience the numbers haven't been the same at all.

  2. Congratulations! What a great discovery!

  3. This is great! I've also seen similar property maps when researching early Pennsylvania town records (original land grants from Wm. Penn and subsequent subdivisions). They are just fascinating!

    On the PA land records, the numbers usually indicated the acreage of the property, but here, they represent the plot numbers, as you said--it's obvious from the series of consecutive numbers. I can't tell whether there are also other numbers that show the size of the property in whatever units of land measurement were in use at the time.

    What a great find!

  4. I have used cadastral maps in the U.S., but didn't know any existed for small villages in Europe.