"A map does not just chart, it unlocks and formulates meaning; it forms bridges between here and there, between disparate ideas that we did not know were previously connected." — Reif Larsen, The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet.
From Geography Bee to genealogy research, understanding geohistory and its implications has been an integral portion of my research work. This interest was piqued further during my undergraduate studies in foreign languages, since borders of French- and German-speaking territories were ever fluctuating, and where, in the Holy Roman Empire, territorial fragmentation was strong. This is especially true in the context of how Alsace, now part of the Grand Est, in France, was viewed by both the French- and German-speaking spheres, not only in more recent times but also in the Ancien Régime.
While in some ways this growth has been more orderly in the United States, exponentially increasing population has necessitated growth in institutions, both in coverage and in power. As part of my efforts to further understand and study these issues, I started the Local Geohistory Project, which currently contains geohistory data from Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The following examples, based on available government records, are illustrative of these trends.
The Borough of Greencastle is located in southern Franklin County, Pennsylvania, about four (4) miles north of the Mason-Dixon Line separating the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from the State of Maryland. Incorporated in 1805, and having had its charter revived in 1820, this borough limits have grown by seven (7)-fold since then.
The Borough of Lansdale is located in north-central Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The borough was incorporated in 1872, and its charter is found at the Recorder of Deeds of Montgomery County in Miscellaneous Book 16, page 16. Since that time, the borough limits have expanded by over over six (6)-fold.
The Borough of Strasburg is located in central Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in the heart of Amish country. The borough was incorporated in 1816, and had no changes in its boundaries for 132 years afterwards. However, like many Lancaster County municipalities, the borough saw massive growth after World War II, having had an 81% increase in population between 1940 and 1970, and another 48% increase between 1970 and 2010. As part of this post-war growth, the borough limits have expanded sixteen (16) times, increasing its total size by about one-half.
Have questions about my research or how your community grew over time? Feel free to drop me a line by using the form on the Contact page.
Pennsylvania Political Subdivision Boundary, Classification, and Name Adjustments from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2019
Pennsylvania Political Subdivision Boundary, Classification, and Name Adjustments from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2029