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April 26, 2014

GENEALOGY: Sometimes we’d like to see a good historic map showing area as it was at time of our ancestors

Sometimes in our research we would just like to see a good historic map, one that shows an area as it was around the time of our ancestor. The National Library of Scotland offers just that to the online user for free viewing. The maps include the counties of Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland at different time periods.

The site is at, and the viewer can choose different viewing options. The “maps of Scotland” option shows maps from 1558 through 1928. County maps, town maps, coastal maps, bathymetrical surveys (of the lochs and other bodies of water), military maps and estate maps can also be chosen. This last option is quite interesting if you know which estate your ancestor worked on.  

Choose the “find by place” option to get to maps of England, Wales and Ireland. This will take the user to a highlighted map of Britain. Choose “Great Britain, Ordnance Survey Maps” or “England and Wales Ordnance Survey” on the menu to get to the non-Scottish maps. You can choose your particular county of interest on a menu and then click on a quadrant in the exact part of the map you want to look at. At the side, thumbnail pictures of all of the maps with your area of interest will appear. Click on one of these maps to see a bigger version which you can enlarge different parts to get a detailed closeup view of the map.

Some of the things you can see on these maps include town layouts, streets, railroads, the locations of residential buildings, schools, churches, quarries, mines, quays (docks), harbors, forested areas, rivers, lakes, streams, military installations, estates (their size and the location of buildings), parishes, geographical features, manufacturing concerns, cemeteries and public buildings. Some of the estate maps actually have the names of the people who lived in particular buildings. Not every map has all of these features.

Your selected map view can be printed out, or you can click on “order this map” and get ordering options (all are paid for in British pounds).

If you’re looking for something in particular, it will take time and patience to work your way through the maps of interest, but this is a very worthwhile web site to visit.


This May and June, the Wabash Valley Genealogy Society will offer free computer classes for beginners who wish to learn how to use Legacy Family Tree, a genealogy computer software program. The classes will provide step-by-step training in how to utilize the features offered by the Legacy Family Tree program. The program itself is free to the public and can be downloaded at


The classes will be in the Vigo County Public Library computer lab. A daytime class and an evening class will be offered. Each class is limited to 10 participants. The classes will be 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays, May 6, 13, 20 and 27, and June 3 and 10.

To register, or for further information, contact the WVGS at 812-420-1121 or Please provide your name and contact information.

Participants will be asked to download the 8.0 free standard edition of the program from the above web address prior to attending the first class.

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