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Maps & Gazetteers, including Scotland & Ireland

Nature of Source

Maps provide a graphical or visual representation of an area or place and gazetteers list place names often with geographical features and extensive historical information. Most directories and gazetteers also include maps. Large scale maps covering all areas were available by the 1880s. The earliest date from 16th century and usually portray individual counties with the most notable series drawn by Christopher Saxton who completed his survey of the whole of England and Wales by 1577. The earliest maps covering Scotland were drawn by Timothy Pont (died c.1614) which were then used by Willem Blaeu for his celebrated atlas, Atlas Novus published in 1635.

Town plans later emerged in the 18th century and parish maps were drawn in the 1840s to assess poor law payments. Map making fully developed from the late 18th century following concerns of a French military invasion which led to the establishment of the Ordnance Survey. The 19th century also saw the emergence of private map makers such as Stanford's.

When looking for maps be aware that boundaries have changed over the years. Old maps can be found amongst various sources including enclosure awards which emerged in the 18th century, tithe maps which show all land holdings, estate maps drawn by the wealthy to keep track of their lands and holdings and census enumerator maps which were used in the taking of the census. Fire insurance maps from the 18th century give detailed street by street coverage. The Charles Booth maps available online also give detailed street views for the late 19th century and are specifically useful for charting London poverty levels. Also consider looking for planning maps for infrastructure projects such as railways, canals and sewers some of which were adapted by commercial companies. Many Ordnance Survey (OS) records were destroyed by a fire in 1841 and enemy action during WWII whilst some OS maps cover military operations abroad.

Scale is measured as a ratio as one to a larger number. The lower the second number the more detailed the map will be.

Also see
County & Local Histories
Enclosure Maps and Awards
Estate Maps
Fire Insurance Registers, Plans and Maps
Valuation Office Field Books & Maps

Where Found

County Record Offices (ARCHON Directory: Find the details of a UK archive from a searchable list of over 2,500 archives The catalogue can be found on the Discovery home page)
The National Archives (Historical mapping)
Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies (IHGS Parish Maps and IHGS Registration District Maps)
British Library (Map Library. The library has one of the largest collections of maps, plans and topographical views in the world, numbering some 4.5 million, with a chronological spread of over 2,000 years. You can search the catalogue for map and plans from here and then filter the results to only show maps)
London Metropolitan Archives (London gazetteers and maps)
National Library of Wales (Map collection. The collection contains over a million sheets of maps, charts and plans as well as thousands of atlases including Railway and Public Utility Plans, Mining Plans, Ordnance Survey Mapping, Estate Maps, Tithe Maps of Wales and Sale Catalogues)
Bodleian Library Map Room (The map collection ranges in date from the fourteenth to the twenty-first century and includes historic maps of Oxford and London from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and a collection of 2,500 World War I trench maps)
ScotlandsPeople Centre (The ScotlandsPeople Centre is the official government resource for family history research. Original maps and plans of Scotland mostly dating from 1750. Register House Plans is an artificial collection of around 165,000 topographical plans, marine charts, architectural and engineering drawings. The plans series may be searched on the online catalogue. ScotlandsPeople Centre is a partnership between the National Records of Scotland and the Court of the Lord Lyon. The National Records of Scotland was created on 1 April 2011 by the amalgamation of the National Archives of Scotland and General Register Office for Scotland)

Period Covered

1250 - Onwards

Genealogical Value

Useful for locating places and addresses and for researching house histories.

Further References

Beech, Geraldine & Mitchell, Rose. Maps for Family & Local History: The National Archives, 2004 (Preview available from Google Books)


Delano-Smith, Catherine & Kain, Roger. English Maps: A History: British Library, 1999


Ekwall, Eilert. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place Names: Oxford University Press, 1960


Foxell, Simon. Mapping England: Black Dog Publishing, 2007


Hewitt, Rachel. Map Of A Nation: The Biography of the Ordnance Survey: Granta, 2011


Hindle, Paul. Maps for Local History: Batsford, 1988


Hindle, Paul. Maps for Historians: Phillimore, 1998


Hindle, Paul. Medieval Roads and Tracks: Shire, 2008


Humphrey-Smith, Cecil. Atlas and Index of Parish Registers: Phillimore, 2003 (The Atlas is available to search at


Kain, Roger & Oliver, Richard. Historic Parishes of England and Wales : an Electronic Map of Boundaries before 1850 with a Gazetteer and Metadata: UK Data Archive, 2001 (Book and CD-ROM)


Lockie, John. Lockie's Topography of London: London, 1810 (Available to download or read online at the Internet Archive)


Masters, Charles. Essential Maps for Family Historians: Countryside Books, 2009


Mitchell, Brian. A New Genealogical Atlas of Ireland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2002


Mitchell, Rose & Janes, Andrew. Maps Their Untold Stories: Map Treasures From The National Archives: Bloomsbury: 2014


Oliver, Richard. Ordnance Survey Maps: A Concise Guide for Historians, Charles Close Society, 1993


Parker, Mike. Mapping The Roads: AA Publishing, 2013


Smith, Frank. A Genealogical Gazetteer of England: Genealogical Publishing Co, 1968


Smith, Frank. A Genealogical Gazetteer of Scotland: Everton Publishers, 1971


Whitfield, Peter. London: A Life in Maps: British Library, 2006


Whynne-Hammond, Charles. English Place Names Explained: Countryside Books, 2005




A to Z Atlas And Guide To London And Suburbs 1938/9: Geographers' Map Company, 2008


Barber, Peter. London : A History in Maps: British Library, 2012


Booth's Maps of London Poverty: East and West 1889, Old House Books


Four Very Detailed Maps Of Victorian London 1863, Old House Books


Foxell, Simon. Mapping London: Making Sense of the City: Black Dog Publishing, 2007


Howgego, James. Printed Maps of London circa 1553-1850: Dawson, 1978


Hyde, Ralph. Printed Maps of Victorian London, 1851-1900: Dawson, 1975


Hyde, Ralph. A-Z of Victorian London: London Topographical Society, 1987


Mills, Anthony. A Dictionary of London Place Names: Oxford University Press, 2010


TNA Research Guides:
Maps: further research
Ordnance Survey

Websites (History of mapping in the British Isles) (Guides to the British Library map collection) (The National Archives Research Guide: Maps. Th e guide provides an overview of the whereabouts and availability of maps with the facility to search for targeted place names searches using The National Archives discovery catalogue) (Historical Maps: The World at Your Fingertips, by Michael L. Strauss. Includes links to Interpreting Map Symbols and Understanding Map Scale) (Keys and Legends shown on the various Ordnance Survey mapping series) (Useful map links from the British Cartographic Society) (Directory of UK Map Collections from the British Cartographic Society) (Links to maps & gazetteers) (Links to free map sites) (Links to online maps) (Links to online Victorian London maps) (Bodleian Library Map Room catalogue & map links)
(Place My Past. The site aims to use mapping to enrich family histories with stories about the places and events which surrounded our ancestors. Users can upload a GEDCOM family tree file to Place My Past and display every event on a map with the facility to search for locations, events and individuals) (Atlas of the Counties of England & Wales drawn by Christopher Saxton) (Links to companies & organisations selling mapping products) ( Get Latitude and Longitude: Get the lat long coordinates from an address) (Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter: Convert an Address to Latitude and Longitude) (GENUKI Gazetteer & links to other resources) (Gazetteer of British Place Names: Notes for Historians and Genealogists) (London Street name changes between 1929 and 1945) (London Postal Districts and Area Names) (The GENUKI church database) (Counties of England, Wales and Scotland prior to the 1974 Boundary Changes) (Ordnance Survey: Great Britain's national mapping agency. From 2008 the OS distributed its map archive to libraries throughout the UK. See here for the whereabouts of the archived collections. A selection of reproduction maps is available from the OS shop. The historic origins of placenames is available here) (The Institute for Name-Studies. The institute is the home of research into place-names and personal names at the University of Nottingham) (The English Place-Name Society. The society was established in 1923 to conduct a county-by-county survey of the place-names of England. Almost all English counties have been surveyed at least in part and work to complete the Survey is ongoing) (19th century gazetteer search) (19th and 20th century British ordnance survey maps) (Samuel Lewis’s Topographical Dictionary of England, 1848) (Free searchable OS town & county maps) (Jonathan Potter Ltd, seller of maps & map books) (The London Topographical Society: Charity selling London maps, plans and views including the A to Z series consisting of six published maps of London at roughly 100 year intervals with full street indexes) (Map of Roman Britain) (Europe History Interactive Map: See significant events throughout European history against the backdrop of an interactive map and see how each 'nation' of people [nationality] and nation-state [country] evolved and materialized into its current form)
Scotland (National Records of Scotland: Research Guides: Maps and Plans) (Guide to the administrative areas and units of Scotland) (The Gazetteer for Scotland, includes Groome's 19th century Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland) (Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland edited by Francis Groome, 1892-6)
Ireland (1851 General Alphabetical Index to the Townlands and Towns, parishes and Baronies of Ireland) (Townlands of Ulster, list of the townlands in Ulster per county) (Ordnance Survey Ireland) (Lewis Topographical Dictionary)

Online Databases

England and Wales (Maps showing the administrative areas and units of England. For each place name the parish is shown and gives start date for parish registers and Bishop Transcripts. The name of the appropriate Probate Court, Diocese, Province, Poor Law Union and Hundred is shown. Contiguous parishes and parishes within a specified radius can be displayed. In addition map layers can be displayed showing boundaries for the Civil Registration District, the Parish, the County, the Diocese and other administrative areas) (National Library of Scotland: Online maps include Ordnance Survey Six-inch England and Wales, 1842-1952; Ordnance Survey 25 inch England and Wales, 1841-1952; Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 maps of Great Britain, 1937-1961; Ordnance Survey Town Plans of England and Wales; Ordnance Survey One-inch Revised New series, England and Wales, 1892-1908; Bartholomew half-inch to the mile, Great Britain, 1897-1909; Planning Maps of the United Kingdom, 1944-1960)
(David Rumsey Map Collection. The collection includes rare 16th through 21st century maps of America, North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Pacific and the World. Categories include Ordnance Survey maps, street and town plans, county maps and national rail maps and London underground maps) (Comprehensive Gazetteer Of England and Wales, 1895) (National Library of Wales Map Collection) (Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers. Collections include Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of England, 1845. Historic maps from Cassini can be searched and bought online from via (UK, Revised New Series Maps,1896-1904. This database contains Revised New Series Ordnance Survey Maps of England, Scotland and Wales first published between 1896 and 1904)
(The British Library Online Gallery: Search for digitised maps from across the UK including fire insurance maps and plans many produced by Charles E. Goad) (Ogilby and Morgan's large scale map of the city as rebuilt by 1676) (Know Your Place West of England. Know Your Place is a digital heritage mapping project to help you to explore your neighbourhood online through historic maps, collections and linked information. The project covers the counties of Bath and North East Somerset, Somerset, Bristol, Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire and Wiltshire) (The Norfolk Historical Map Explorer: Online access to Norfolk map collections including enclosure and tithe maps, aerial surveys, Ordnance Survey maps and other historical maps) (Mapping the History of Liverpool. The site lets you explore old maps of Liverpool, find out more about the historic townships and find all the designated, listed and protected sites on Merseyside)
(University of Manchester Collections: Map Collection: Access to a collection of over 300 digitised historical maps and plans of Manchester from the 18th century to the middle of the 20th century published online by The University of Manchester Library) (Worcestershire Tithe and Inclosure Map Project: On-line access to digitised 18th and 19th century inclosure, tithe and estate maps searchable by name with transcribed entries from the original documentation) (Interactive map of England with the option of adding a variety of layers) (Interactive UK Google Maps allowing the user to customise the map with layers of information including various administrative boundaries. Other features allow the user to add symbols and shapes and save to a pdf file) (The Gough Map of Great Britain: Interactive and searchable version of the Gough Map which is one of the earliest maps to show Britain in a geographically recognisable form) (Cymru1900Wales: The project aims to collect all the names of places and features such as the names of towns, villages, woods, farms, rivers and mansions in Wales from the Ordnance Survey’s six-inch to a mile maps of c. 1900. Volunteers can add additional information based on their own knowledge such as alternative spellings or memories of the location)
London (Old maps covering south London) (Layers of London. The site, developed by the Institute of Historical Research, provides access to free collections of digitised historic maps of London, photos and crowd-sourced histories and stories. Historic maps include: Rocque's map of London, Westminster and Southwark, 1746; Booth's Poverty Map, 1886-1903; OS Maps 1893-1896 and 1940s-1960s; RAF Aerial Collection, 1945-1949; Bomb Damage, 1945)
(David Rumsey Map Collection. The collection includes rare 16th through 21st century maps of America, North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Pacific and the World. Categories include London Ordnance Survey maps, street and town plans, county maps and national rail maps and London underground maps) (MAPCO. Highly detailed digitised map consisting of the Map Of London 1868, By Edward Weller, F.R.G.S. Revised and corrected to the present time by John Dower, F.R.G.S.) (National Library of Scotland: Ordnance Survey Maps, London, Five feet to the Mile, 1893-1896) (Locating London´s Past: John Rocque's Survey of London, Westminster & Southwark, 1746 and the Ordnance Survey, 1st Edition Map of London 1863-80. The maps are fully zoomable and fully referenced to modern geographical coordinates within a Google Maps 'container') (British Library: Online Gallery: London: A Life in Maps. Maps and views from the British Library collections bring the city's transformation to life) (British Library: Online Gallery: Crace Collection of Maps of London. Over 1200 maps and plans of the capital: a fascinating collection brought together by the Victorian designer, Frederick Crace) (Museum of London: London Street Views 1840. Between 1838 and 1840 London publisher John Tallis created a series of 88 pamphlets titled a 'Tallis's London Street Views'. These guides illustrated London's main commercial streets. This website displays the elevation views of 35 of the guides) (The Pocket Atlas and Guide to London, 1900) (Old London Maps) (Greenwood's Map of London, 1827) (19th century London maps) (Charles Booth's Descriptive Map, 1889) (Access to The Charles Booth Online Archive which includes a zoomable digital version of the Booth map) (Mainly London 18th and 19th century maps) (Free access to London maps dating from the 16th to the 19th century) (Mid twentieth century London maps) (Searchable London maps, 1674-1834) (19th century London maps) (Stanford's Library Map of London and its Suburbs, 1862-1871) (Prints, drawings, watercolours, maps and photographs held by the Guildhall Library Print Room, Guildhall Art Gallery and London Metropolitan Archives) (UK Map Collection including administrative maps including Greater London and the London boroughs, parliamentary constituencies and others)
Scotland (National Library of Scotland Maps of Scotland: Free online maps including maps covering the whole of Scotland, County maps, Large scale town plans, Military maps, Ordnance Survey maps, road and rail maps and many more. The Georeferenced maps and applications section allows users to search using zoomable maps and gazetteers for Ordnance Survey maps, view historical maps overlaid upon modern Google and Bing map, satellite and terrain layers, georeference hundreds of our early maps of Scotland and combine geo-referenced maps with historical information) (National Library of Scotland Digital Gallery: Gazetteers of Scotland, 1803-1901. Browse and search 20 volumes of the most popular descriptive gazetteers of 19th-century Scotland, covering towns, counties, parishes, glens and more) (Ordnance Survey Name Books. Digital volumes of the OS Name Books for counties in Scotland with indexes listing every place name found on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey maps. Each place name links to both the corresponding name book page as well as the map sheet where that place name may be found. The site also has an interactive map and gazetteer displaying the administrative areas and units of Scotland with the administrative history of each county or place. Each place name is accompanied by maps, plans and photographs in addition to historical tax rolls, official reports and boundary information)
(National Record of the Historic Environment: Canmore: Online catalogue of Scotland archaeology, buildings and other heritage sites. The catalogue holds detailed information and archive images for more than 300,000 historic places in Scotland and includes photographs, drawings, books, journals and maps) (Charting the Nation: Edinburgh University Library. Digital imaging and cataloguing project with the primary aim of widening access to maps of Scotland and their associated texts dating from ca.1550 to 1740) (Gazetteer for Scotland) (AddressingHistory: The site allows users to search Edinburgh  Post Office Directories from 1784, 1865 and 1905 by name, place or profession and view the results on a modern map with historical map overlays. It is also possible to view the original directory page) (Maps of Edinburgh) (Gaelic Place-Names of Scotland)
Ireland (PRONI Historical Maps viewer. Search and browse a range of historical Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland maps and find information on sites, buildings and landmarks of historical interest) (GeoHive by Ordnance Survey. GeoHive is an initiative by Ordnance Survey Ireland to provide easy access through a data catalogue and a map viewer to a range of authoritative Irish spatial data. Basemaps include: Historic Map 25 inch,1888-1913; Historic Map 6 inch Black & White, 1837-1842; Historic Map 6 inch Colour, 1837-1842; OSi Cassini 6inch raster mapping dated 1830s to 1930s) (Dublin City Ordnance Survey Map, 1847. Explore 33 large-scale Ordinance Survey maps covering Dublin at the height of the Great Famine)
(Ireland, Maps and Surveys 1558-1610. Early maps of Ireland digitised in full colour from TNA series MPF 1. The maps were created to assist the English in the plantation of Ireland a time when the English crown confiscated Irish lands and redistributed the land to English planters or settlers) (University College Dublin Digital Library: Ordnance Survey Ireland 19th Century Historical Maps. A collection of mainly 19th century maps of almost 150 cities, towns, and villages in the Republic of Ireland including Dublin city and suburbs. Most are Town Plans which were surveyed at either five or ten foot to one mile scale between 1837 and 1896) (University College Dublin Digital Library: Maps of Dublin accompanying Thom's Official Directory. Nine Thom’s maps of the city and environs of Dublin from the collection of the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy) (Ireland Ordnance Survey Maps, 1824-1846) (Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland Historic Maps: Digital access to historical maps dating from 1835 to the 1960's) (Ordnance Survey Ireland: The website includes a set of online historic maps with a facility to overlay the maps with a number of industrial, social and religious features. The site provides access to highly accurate maps produced between 1829 and 1842 resulting from the first ever large-scale survey of an entire country, followed by a second survey completed between 1887 and 1913. The land measurements were originally used for valuation purposes and organised by Ordnance Survey Ireland. The 1913 greyscale series is also included) (Ulster Ancestry Free Genealogy Pages: Free online maps of Ulster. Ulster Ancestry also offers a specialist ancestral research service for those wishing to trace their family origins in Northern Ireland) (Free online maps of Ireland) (Trinity College Dublin: The Down Survey of Ireland. Digital images of all the surviving Down Survey maps at parish, barony and county level with written descriptions of each barony and parish that accompanied the original map. The Survey, taken in the years 1656-1658, sought to measure all the land to be forfeited by the Catholic Irish and transferred to the Protestants) (Placenames Database of Ireland. Users can search for a placename in Irish or English including townlands, streets, electoral districts and civil parishes. Alternatively users can explore Ireland's placenames with the interactive map or browse by county)
TNA Online Collections (Irish maps c.1558-c.1610: Irish maps depicting plantations, fortifications and townships in Ireland taken come from state papers Ireland. TNA Online Collections is produced by The National Archives and contains online access to indexes, transcriptions and digital images of some of the TNA's most important holdings. Searches are free but a fee is levied for each downloaded item. However downloads are free if used at TNA or the Society of Genealogists) (Free resources include a collection of historic digitized maps of Dublin and Ireland including: Indexed and fully searchable version of George Taylor and Andrew Skinner's Maps of the Roads of Ireland, 1777; Collection of maps scanned from Philips Administrative Atlas of Ireland, published in about 1904 and 1907; Hi-resolution browsable maps for all 32 counties from Lewis Topographical Dictionary of Ireland 1837; Map of Ireland, 1838; Map of Ireland, c1867; Map of Ireland, 1897; Belfast City, 1884; Civil Registration Districts Map browsable by county and registration district; Townland Index and Database, 1851) (Irish Townland Maps: Browse and view Irish Townland maps covering the whole of Ireland. The maps were surveyed between 1829 and 1843 and are highly detailed showing the names of all the Townlands, Parishes and Baronies in Ireland. The Griffith's Valuation was based on the mapping. Use the county index maps to identify the relevant Townland)
UK and the World
Online Catalogues (Listing of online catalogues for the partial whereabouts of records including Copac which has a map catalogue search including the British Library Map catalogue)
(UK, Popular Edition Maps, 1919-1926. Ordnance Survey Popular Edition maps cover much of Britain and include features such as forests, mountains, larger farms, roads, railroads, towns) (David Rumsey Map Collection. The collection includes rare 16th through 21st century maps of America, North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Pacific and the World)
(Images Online is the Picture library of the British Library, containing over 150 million items including, manuscripts, rare books, musical texts, maps, illustrations, drawings, paintings and photographs spanning almost 3000 years) (Association of British Counties: Gazetteer of British Place Names. The Gazetteer provides an exhaustive Place Name Index to Great Britain containing over 50,000 entries. It lists the historic county and the main administrative areas in which each place lies) (Digital early Ordnance Survey maps. Site includes free searchable maps and a gazetteer as well as  town plans dating from 1850 to 1996 and Russian Maps of UK locations from the cold-war era) (Baedeker's Old Guide Books, including London, 1905 & Great Britain, 1910) (British Museum Images: Images, prints, drawings and maps covering early modern and 19th century Britain. The contents of British Museum Images can also be searched at Connected Histories together with a number of other databases) (OldMapsOnline: Online access to historical maps held in various repositories and libraries around the world including the British Library and the National Library of Scotland) (19th century Ordnance Survey county maps) (Access to free online maps covering London, England, Scotland, Wales & Ireland) (Highly detailed reprints of old OS maps at about 14 inches to the mile covering the UK and some European) (Free access to 18th and 19th century London and Britain maps) (Reprints of Ordnance Survey's old and new series maps and the popular edition series) (Artus Old Street Plans: Digital images of old maps covering British towns and cities) (Online maps of towns 50 years ago scanned from the Bartholomew half inch map series) (Bloomsbury Publishing: Shire and Old House imprints. Reprinted 19th century national and street maps as well as railway and other specialist maps. Also included are the Charles Booth London Poverty Maps of 1889) (University of Manchester Collections: Map Collection: Online access to historical mapping for the UK as well as wide-ranging coverage for the rest of the world) (Online images of English, Welsh and Scottish maps from their beginnings to the early 20th Century) (Access to free online maps covering the UK and the world) (New Popular Edition Maps: Free zoomable map of Britain in the 1940s and 1950s) (Historic Map Works: digital historic and antique map collections covering North America and the rest of the world)

CD Roms

JiGrah Resources (Town, City and County maps)
Archive CD Books (County and country-wide coverage)
Cyrene Publications (Atlas of London circa 1908)
Your Old Books & Maps (Town, City and County maps)
Digital Archives Association (Producer of high resolution images of historical maps on CD and DVD. The discs have been produced mainly from the 1 to 2500 [25 inches to 1 mile] County Series Ordnance Survey maps of the late 19th and early 20th century)
Past Homes Maps (Irish Townland Maps: The company supplies Irish Townland maps as single sheet six inch county maps or on CD. The maps were surveyed between 1829 and 1843 and are highly detailed showing the names of all the Townlands, Parishes and Baronies in Ireland. The Griffith's Valuation was based on the mapping. Use the county index maps to identify the relevant Townland)
Anguline Research (Town, City and County maps) (Maps of London with very large images and full place name indexes)
S & N Genealogy Supplies (Town, City and County maps including the 'Handy Map of London' circa 1890)  
History Data Service (Historic Parishes of England and Wales: an Electronic Map of Boundaries before 1850 with a Gazetteer and Metadata. OUT OF PRINT)
West Surrey Family History Society (Atlas of London, circa 1908 by J & A Catlyn with searchable index to over 7000 streets) (Philips' Handy-Volume Atlas of the County of London in 1922; Bartholomew's Handy Reference Atlas The whole world in 1898 plus some example pages) (Lancashire Family History and Heraldry Society: Andrew Todd's map of Lancashire 1851 showing the Registration Districts of Births, Marriages & Deaths, Registration Sub-Districts, Parishes, Townships and all Anglican churches and dates of their earliest registers)