Location resources {page u/c}

Maps & Family Research

This page outlines the resources used in locating former family homes.

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The most common starting point is an address, either from an address book, a census record or a certificate eg birth certificate.

In some case the property may still exist or it may have been demolished. In all cases precisely locating an address is not as easy as you may think. The organisations that collect address data are commercial and doe not release it for general use (although it was paid for by the UK taxpayer).


In family research the location of a family home, event or public place can often be vague at the start. The country maybe known, or the town/place. Over time improved resolution maybe acquired eg to a house number, holiday accommodation or even a grave plot.

To support this the following referencing approach is used to identify locations [of family homes and other event]:


*for England Wales and Scotland the former counties are used to help provide a better spatial granularity and this also aligns with many of the indexing systems in use on various websites.

County Maps

The location pages follow the above referencing sequence. The county maps can be viewed online:

The wider us of maps is described in the next section.


The census is undertaken by household. In terms of location this can be associated with an address. Though it is only from the late 19thC that house numbers appear - this probably reflects local usage where numbering was unnecessary until the local population grew beyond a certain size. This is generally a reliable and the best starting point for any research from the mid 19thC onwards.

Current maps can help locate the property and determine if it still exists

Old maps can also be helpful in understanding the landscape at the time the people lived there. The map will show buildings that have now been demolished. Close inspection can also reveal that the current building may not be the same as those that were used by previous generations eg many country cottages were rebuilt in the 19thC

This site uses Open Street Map as the reference for all the map inserts as it is now the most consistent global map service available.

Maps - Current

Here is a list of map services which show the current or recent landscape.

The rating is in terms of family research benefits & general availability.

Date Title Notes Rating
20140524 data.gov.uk UK data portal **...
20140524 geoportal ireland Ireland data portal **...
20140524 Google Maps Base Google service **...
20140524 Google StreetView Street imagery ****.
20140524 OS Mapping OS OpenSpace **...
20140524 Open Street Map Open map service ***..
20140524 Calderdale - detailed OS Maps Current large OS maps incl address location ****.

Maps - old

Here is a list of map services which record the landscape as it was. The rating is in terms of family research benefits & general availability.

The national library sites are useful resources:

  1. The British Library publish national cover of England and Wales maps through the Vision of Britain portal.
  2. The National Library of Scotland hold and publish a full coverage of maps of Scotland as well as some aerial photography. The old maps include Ordnance Survey County series maps ie large scale
Date Title Notes Rating
20140524 British Library - England & Wales Earliest OS one Inch maps & later series ***..
20140524 National Library of Scotland Maps & aerial photography, incl 19thC 1:2500 mapping ****.
20140524 Cassini Maps Browse & download OS maps [commercial] ***..
20140524 Old Maps UK Browse & download OS maps [commercial] ***..
20140524 Calderdale Maps [1851-1948] Browse old OS maps ****.


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References & Links:

Map Information
Date Title
20140524 British Library maps online
20140524 Ordnance Survey 1" Map View 1868 [British Library]
20140524 Ordnance Survey 1" Map View 1945 [British Library]
20140524 County Boundary Map View E&W 1899 [British Library]
20140524 County Boundary Map View Scotland 18xx [Nat. Library of Scotland]
20140524 Scotland Online Maps [National Library of Scotland]
20140524 Scotland Town Plans [National Library of Scotland]

Updated KJM 24 May 2014