Using CB&Q Land Records for Family Research, part 2

In a previous post I followed the story of Swedish immigrant Axel Frisk through the records of the CB&Q’s land records for its branch, the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad in Iowa. I found the application, examiner’s report, and even correspondence from Frisk.  These documents shed light on Frisk and his family, the kind of farm he owned, and how good his credit and his character were. The one thing these documents fail to show, however, is the location of the farm. For that, I needed to go to plats and maps inside the CB&Q records, and also maps in the Newberry’s main map collections.

First of all, the application for land (CB&Q 752.4)  includes some important coordinates:   Montgomery County, Iowa, Section 6, Township 71, Range 37. The coordinates are listed from narrowest to broadest, so one first has to find the plat map that has all of Range 37.

Government township plats, CB&Q call number +756.2



From there you open the book and find the map for Township 71, and see that Section 6 is at the top left corner of the township.  Frisk’s name isn’t on the section, and there’s no context for where this is in Iowa, but you can chart changes in the land buildup in his section and the surrounding sections.

Government township plats, page for Township 71 CB&Q +756.2

Township plats for Iowa, 1878-1889, CB&Q +756.7, Volume 1




This plat book is undated, but is probably pre-1878, since the land is less developed than is shown in the plat drawing below.





In this view you see the railroad line running through the town of Stanton, Iowa and across Section 6, Frisk’s land.




In order to “zoom out” and see exactly where this land is, I had to go to the Newberry Library’s Cartographic Catalog, where I found a Railroad map of the State of Iowa, and could locate Montomery County in the southwestern corner of the state.

Cram's Railroad Map of Iowa, Map 3C G4151 .P3 1879 C7


Detail showing Montgomery County







This map doesn’t have the coordinates of Section, Township, and Range, but the another map, a 1907 standard atlas of Montgomery County, does show me that Township 71 was renamed Scott Township within the county, and Section 6 clearly shows Axel Frisk’s Farm.

Standard Atlas of Montomery County, Iowa, compiled by G. A. Ogle, 1907. Detail of Scott Township

For more assistance on using the Newberry’s wide variety of documents to discover your genealogy, please also visit the Genealogy Blog.

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