How To Find Old Homesteads Using Maps

How To Find Old Homesteads Using Maps

Research is the key to metal detecting success so it stands to reason that most good detectorists are also good researchers.

Knowing how to find older areas to detect can put you in a better position to find some older coins and relics. One fun website that I like to visit when researching a new site to detect is

What I like best about it is the Comparison feature that allows you to slide back and forth between current maps and older maps easily. That is a great tool to help compare where houses and buildings were in the past to what the area looks like today.

How To Find Old Homesteads Using Maps


The above image shows an area where an old homestead was long ago. This map is an aerial image from the year 2006. Notice the Red Arrow indicating where a house once stood on this property. All that is there now is over-growth and a field.


This image of the same exact area as above demonstrates the “Compare” and ‘Slide” functions. Click on the “Compare” button and on the menu scroll down to “Slide” and click it. Then on the Right Side of the screen, Choose the Date of the map that you wish to compare with the current map.

Now you will be able to slide the older map over the current map and compare what the landscape looked like then compared to now. In this example we are comparing a 2006 map to a 1968 map.

Notice that in black and white on the right half of this image you can see exactly where the house and barn once stood.


Using the same technique as above, you can also use the compare and slide functions to compare topographical maps as well. On the right hand side of your screen, click on one of the dates in the “Topos” maps section and use the slider to overlay and compare current maps with older topographical maps.


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Final Thoughts

Research is the key to metal detecting success, and learning how to find long forgotten properties can put you one step closer to finding that cache of buried gold and silver coins.

Just remember that the land where these old homesteads once stood is still owned by someone.

Please be sure to always seek permission from the landowner before traversing private properties. Good luck and Happy Hunting out there!

Photo Credits

Topo Map – USGS



Since this article was written the historical aerials software has been updated.

Likewise, this article will be updated very soon, so be sure to bookmark this page to view the updated and more current images and information. – Thanks, Team Detecting365.


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