In the US, land is divided differently depending on the part of the country. Sometimes the land is plotted by land marks. For example, it is not unusual for a property description to plot land from a tree, to the edge of a brook, to the big rock and back along the land of Mr. Smith to the tree. In other places, the land is divided by plats. Trying to triangulate where your place is and perhaps even who lived on the particular piece of land or reconstructing a neighborhood takes a bit of knowledge about how the land is divided. The Bureau of Land Management, the regional Registry of Deeds, or the National Archives will all have records and maps of the land.