Thursday 20 August 2015

Where's Waldo on the Walling Map?

At first glance, the Walling Map of 1862 looks like an ordinary map of Saint John and Kings County, albeit large and old, but upon closer inspection you can see that it is no normal map. Our topographical map is one of only a few from that period, as documented by Sandra Devlin, a veteran journalist (and self-confessed genealogy addict) in her newspaper article titled “Pinpoint your ancestors on the map”:

“According to the Canadian Institute of Geomatics: six counties in New Brunswick were mapped first between 1862-1876, namely: Albert and Westmorland, 1862, by H.F. Walling; Carleton, 1876, by Roe and Colby; Northumberland, 1876, by Roe and Colby and St. John and Kings, 1862, by W. E. and A. A. Baker.”

Our Topographical Map of the Counties of St. John and Kings was published in 1862 by W.E. & A.A. Baker, with the survey under the direction of H.F. Walling. This map not only shows the topography of the two counties but also gives the business directories for its communities, such as the bustling district of Springfield which during 1862 boasted two boot and shoe manufacturers, as well as five school teachers. Most interesting for genealogists, however, is the inclusion of the names and locations of numerous subscribers from these communities, people who sought to ‘leave their mark’ for posterity through this map. 

We’re glad they did.

The Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library has an excellent scan of this map which you can use to zoom in for a more in depth view of where the person’s residence was, similarly to how you now would have town and city names marking their locations on a map. Beyond land grants and censuses it can be difficult to pin point where your ancestors actually lived, but this map provides a snapshot in time for many families and it is an invaluable tool for genealogists and researchers seeking to understand the communities of their ancestors.

In her article, “The Walling Map: An old map put together by H.F. Walling, offers detailed information for genealogists,” Ruby Cusack tells the following story about the Walling map's production:
“The late Harold Beyea told Bill Titus an interesting story concerning the compilation of the names on the Walling map. The compiler is said to have walked the roads of Kings and Saint John counties, pushing a wheelbarrow that contained his kit of materials and the wheel had a measuring device to record distances. He would stop at each household or business for a subscription for their name to be placed on the map. Barter was prevalent in those days, so often a meal or night's lodging was exchanged for his service.”

Inclusion on the map was dependent on this paid subscription and, as a result, not every family in 1862 could afford to be a subscriber. But Kings County residents were resourceful then, as now, and it is funny to imagine the barters and trades they made – including having the survey man stay overnight at your house - in order to get their name on the map.
They certainly were a determined lot, destined to leave their mark on Kings County.

Thanks to Ruby Cusack, the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library and Sandra Devlin’s newspaper article “Pinpoint your ancestors on the map” for insight into this amazing artifact, and to summer staffer Lydia Blois for writing this post!

To purchase reproductions of this map (or sections) locally, contact Paul Anderson of Fredericton at


  1. Great post of a great research tool at Kings County Museum!

  2. I have one of the originals 4'x4' with scroll for sale