"Gazetteer" is an unfamiliar word to most researchers, but it can be a huge help in your research.
Also known as "geographical encyclopedia," a gazetteer provides detailed information about a place. This includes current and former names, the boundaries, major geographical features, and more.
Why would you want to use a Gazetteer? Often our ancestors' places of birth, death, or marriage have changed names since they lived there. A gazetteer can help ensure that you're looking in the right place. It can also provide important hints about their way of life in that location, including why they choose to fish or farm, and what crops they might have grown.
How do you access a gazetteer? Library members have access to the Columbia Gazetteer through Godfrey Scholar. To get there, go to http://www.godfrey.org, click on "Godfrey Scholar+" and log in. Then click on "Maps" and "Columbia Gazetteer."