U.S. Geography

U.S. Geography, at first glance, might not be appealing to the average person. To the genealogist, it is an absolute must to know when territories were formed into states and later re-formed. For example, suppose your research leads you from your family roots in Ohio to Louisiana. You discover that your third great grandfather said he was born free in Louisiana in 1800. After exhausting every possible record in Louisiana, you still can't find your third great grandfather. Could there have been a mistake on the record? Did he really know where he was born? Either scenario could be true but there are other possibilities: The Louisiana Purchase. Signed on April 30, 1803, the Louisiana Terror tory covered some 800,000 square miles of land extending from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. States that later became Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas were carved out of this purchase from the French. Other examples of states being formed from the territories of other states would include Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and the District of Columbia. Finally, relatives born in areas close to state lines can also be tricky. As state and county lines have been drawn and re-drawn, one might have thought they were born in Louisiana but was actually born in Texas depending upon the settlement of those territories The maps provided will help guide you through the formation of the United States and possibly give you more clues as to where to hunt for your relatives.

State

Ratification or Admission

Preceding Entity

 
Delaware
July 4, 1776 Lower Counties on Delaware
December 7, 1787 Sovereign state in Confederation
 
Pennsylvania
July 4, 1776 Province of Pennsylvania
December 12, 1787 Sovereign state in Confederation
New Jersey
July 4, 1776 Province of New Jersey
December 18, 1787 Sovereign state in Confederation
 
Georgia
July 4, 1776 Province of Georgia
January 2, 1788 Sovereign state in Confederation
 
Connecticut
July 4, 1776 Connecticut Colony
January 9, 1788 Sovereign state in Confederation
 
Massachusetts
July 4, 1776 Province of Massachusetts Bay
February 6, 1788 Sovereign state in Confederation
 
Maryland
July 4, 1776 Province of Maryland
April 28, 1788 Sovereign state in Confederation
 
South Carolina
July 4, 1776 Province of South Carolina
May 23, 1788 Sovereign state in Confederation
 
New Hampshire
July 4, 1776 Province of New Hampshire
June 21, 1788 Sovereign state in Confederation
 
Virginia
July 4, 1776 Virginia Colony
June 25, 1788 Sovereign state in Confederation
 
New York
July 4, 1776 Province of New York
July 26, 1788 Sovereign state in Confederation
 
North Carolina
July 4, 1776 Province of North Carolina, then sovereign state in Confederation
Rhode Island
July 4, 1776 Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, then sovereign state in Confederation
Vermont
March 4, 1791 Province of New York, Vermont Republic
Kentucky
June 1, 1792 Virginia
Tennessee
June 1, 1796 North Carolina, then Southwest Territory
Ohio
March 1, 1803 Northwest Territory
Louisiana
April 30, 1812 Orleans Territory
Indiana
December 11, 1816 Indiana Territory
Mississippi
December 10, 1817 Mississippi Territory
Illinois
December 3, 1818 Illinois Territory
Alabama
December 14, 1819 Alabama Territory
Maine
March 15, 1820 Massachusetts
Missouri
August 10, 1821 Missouri Territory
Arkansas
June 15, 1836 Arkansas Territory
Michigan
January 26, 1837 Michigan Territory
Florida
March 3, 1845 Florida Territory
Texas
December 29, 1845 Republic of Texas
Iowa
December 28, 1846 Iowa Territory
Wisconsin
May 29, 1848 Wisconsin Territory
California
September 9, 1850 Mexican Cession
Minnesota
May 11, 1858 Minnesota Territory
Oregon
February 14, 1859 Oregon Territory
Kansas
January 29, 1861 Kansas Territory
West Virginia
June 20, 1863 Virginia
Nevada
October 31, 1864 Nevada Territory
Nebraska
March 1, 1867 Nebraska Territory
Colorado
August 1, 1876 Colorado Territory
North Dakota
November 2, 1889 Dakota Territory
South Dakota
November 2, 1889 Dakota Territory
Montana
November 8, 1889 Montana Territory
Washington
November 11, 1889 Washington Territory
Idaho
July 3, 1890 Idaho Territory
Wyoming
July 10, 1890 Wyoming Territory
Utah
January 4, 1896 Utah Territory
Oklahoma
November 16, 1907 Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory
New Mexico
January 6, 1912 New Mexico Territory
Arizona
February 14, 1912 Arizona Territory
Alaska
January 3, 1959 Alaska Territory
Hawaii
August 21, 1959 Hawaii Territory