Thursday, August 01, 2019

Mapping the Birth of Boston

In September 1630 the English colonists in Trimountaine decided to rename their settlement 'Boston', after the English town in Lincolnshire. By 1648, eighteen years later, much of the Shawmut peninsula had been parceled out, claimed and settled by different colonial families. You can discover which families lived in Boston in 1648 using a new interactive map created by Northeastern University.

The Birth of Boston is a collaborative project from Northeastern University and the Massachusetts Historical Society. The map uses the historical Clough Land Parcel Map to show Boston's early land parcels and who lived in them. Samuel Chester Clough was a nineteenth-century cartographer, who tried to map the early years of Boston using the data from The Book of Possessions, a nineteenth century catalog of Boston's historic registration records. The 1648 Clough Land Parcel Map plots the land lots of Boston in 1648 and describes who owned them.

The Birth of Boston project has digitized the Clough map and created an interactive map which allows you to click on individual plots to find out about the individuals who lived in them. The information includes the names of the people who lived in each plot in 1648, their relationships and occupations. It also includes details about the property and any significant recorded events which took place in the property during Boston's early history.

The Birth of Boston map is just the first interactive map in a planned series of historical maps to be created by the project. The project plans to use more historical maps to visualize historical datasets from Boston's early history.

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