Best match data file?

I have information about location at a city + state level from present day back to the 1980s. What is the best way to match city + state to a polygon back in time?

I’ve experimented with Place boundaries, but I’m interested in what would work best.

“Place” data files are generally the right choice to match with city information. In census terminology, “place” includes incorporated cities and other types of legally defined municipalities, as well as “census designated places” that delineate unincorporated concentrated settlements. There’s a nice explainer here.