Astronomy has changed from data-starving science to data-flooding science about 20 years ago due to advances of observational technology in all the wavelength regimes of electromagnetic waves. This paper gives a historical overview of galaxy surveys. We start from the impact of the technology development. Then, old imaging surveys and redshift surveys based on photography, especially using Schmidt telescopes, in the era of data-starving science are described in some detail. Several features of modern surveys are given and two highlights obtained from the exploitation of modern galaxy surveys are introduced.