National Library of Scotland Maps

August 28, 20206:24 amLeave a Comment
Image of the National Library of Scotland website Home Page

Image of the National Library of Scotland website Home Page

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – maps are a fantastic resource for family historians and the best repositories for old maps are always local record offices and local studies libraries.

However, during these strange and uncertain times it is not always easy to travel and to visit such places and so we are ever more reliant on resources we can find online.

This is where I have to highlight the fantastic and fabulous National Library of Scotland website.  In addition to digitising an astonishing amount of Scottish maps of all dates and scales, they have also put online copies of the Old Series 6” and 25” Ordnance Survey maps for the whole of the UK.  You can search either by town name or, if your geography is as bad as mine, you have the ability to use a modern map and ‘zoom’ in on where you are searching for.  If you use the ‘side by side’ option, you will see the corresponding old map appearing on the left hand side of your screen as if by magic!  There is also an overlay function so you can slide backwards and forwards 120 years with the mere drag of the mouse!

Image from the National Library of Scotland website

Image from the National Library of Scotland website

Can I tell you something even more wonderful?  This facility is completely free!

This is a real ‘time waster’ website but in the best possible way.  In addition to finding where your ancestors lived, you will not able to resist looking to see what your street looked like on a 19th century map, or see how much areas have changed over the years.  Those weird geographical names on the census will suddenly appear as farm and estate names on maps and some of the old spellings will help make sense of odd references on baptism registers, etc.  I’ve recently researched a friend’s family in Bristol and as I don’t know the area, these maps were invaluable in working out which parishes they belonged to and how they moved from street to street.

So make yourself a cup of tea (or pour a glass of wine!) and sit down with the computer and have a search.  I promise you, you will be hooked.

Keep safe and well and Happy Researching!

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Written by Jane Lewis - Modified by ESP Admin

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