Maps and places

Family history research is about locating people in a particular place at a certain time. Australian genealogists are inevitably drawn back in time to unfamiliar overseas places. We can become better acquainted with ancestral villages via the internet by simply typing a place name into www.google.com and seeing what comes up. By adding the word genealogy or history the search would be made more relevant.

For dedicated map and place sites a good place to start is the Ballarat & District Genealogical Society Inc. maps page
The five recommended sites are among the many links from the above page.

GENUKI : Counties of England, Wales and Scotland prior to the 1974 Boundary Changes
The clickable map and county lists can be used to navigate directly to any county page. The abbreviations used are the Chapman Codes. For example if you click on WOR for Worcestershire, the next page will be GENUKI's main page for that county, then click on maps. There are two. The 1888 Old County Map is also clickable and the extracts are good enough to print. The map resources for each country vary in number. For GLS Gloucestershire there are more than a dozen map links. Have a look and see which ones suit your purposes.

This is very good for searching for Census places because it shows streets and roads on the mainland of the United Kingdom (not Northern Ireland).
For example, from the 1841 British Census I knew a family was living in Kilver Street, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, England. When I entered that street in the search box the map came up and I could see exactly where it was. It was just around the corner from Town Lane where another branch of the family lived in 1841. On these street maps you can click right and left and up and down to see adjoining areas and zoom out to see the layout of the whole village.

Gazetteer for Scotland
Enter using Maps & Places
A member of the Ballarat Genealogical Society recently visited an ancestral village of Pittenweem, Fife, Scotland. Where could that be? Just click on the Fife section of the Scotland map and lo and behold there is Pittenweem with a blue dot. Clicking on places marked with a blue dot will take you to a new page with a brief description and picture of the village.
Further links at the extreme right can lead to additional information and sometimes even a Quicktime sound file for correct pronounciation. If there is a camera icon it will take you to more pictures. This is a great site for virtual tourists. The Scottish Borders were of interest to me and exploring the towns on a cold rainy day from the comfort of home was most enjoyable.

Greenwood's Map of London 1827
This is a really good old map. I had a family in Middlesex so I clicked on Place Names, Stepney. Instantly I could see where the church of St Dunstan was located, and Mile End Road Old Town, which is where some family photos were taken. Nearby was Commercial Road in the Tower Hamlets area where my GUY family was living in the 1851 British Census. I could easily imagine a young man arranging to work his passage to Australia as a galley hand because the docks were so close to where he lived.
Under History there is a section called 'Ways to explore this map'. I followed the suggestion to open a new browser window for a website with aerial photographs of London such as Multimap.com

Multimap.com : Online Maps to Everywhere (UK, Ireland, Europe, USA and other countries including Australia)

I typed 'Mile End Road Stepney' into the Find box and up came a modern day map of the same area that I had seen on the old map. After clicking once on this map to zoom in, I could then click on the camera icon at the top to see an aerial photo of the same area in colour. Now for the magic - when you move your mouse over the photo it changes to a moveable box with part of the previous map to identify the streets. Playing around with these maps and photos and juggling between windows of the old and new maps is heavy on bandwidth so it is best to have a high speed internet connection.

Jennifer Burrell: jburrell@ncable.net.au



Created : 22 July 2004
Last Modified : 7 April 2006
Email : jburrell@ncable.net.au
URL : http://users.ncable.net.au/~jburrell/link/5maps.htm