In the late 1700’s during the French Revolution, the Government of England, fearing invasion,  instructed the Board of Ordnance (the defense ministry) to complete the survey work necessary to map the South Coast of England to aid in planning her defenses. Over the years, mapping of the entire country has been carried out in greater and lesser detail and has produced several series of historical maps of interest to genealogists with British ancestors.

Ancestry UK has released a new database containing the Revised New Series Maps, 1896-1904.  The maps are searchable by County or Borough and further by more detailed place names. Resolution of the maps is excellent and each image can be downloaded and saved to your computer. Ancestry describes their new collection:

These detailed maps cover much of Britain and include features such as forests, mountains, larger farms, roads, railroads, towns, and more to help you better understand and even visualize the world your ancestor lived in. The country was mapped from south to north, so dates for the maps get later as they go further north.

While browsing this new map collection, I noticed that Ancestry actually has a large map, atlas and gazetteer selection, not something that I would have associated with Ancestry. Some of these collections contain browse-able images only. All can be accessed through the card catalogue. Sorted by number of records, the Ancestry UK Maps, Atlases and Gazetteers section contains:

  • World Foreign Gazetteer, Vol. 1
  • UK, Revised New Series Maps,1896-1904 
  • Dorset, England, Tithe Apportion and Maps, 1835-1850
  • The History and Topographical Survey of Kent, 1793
  • Topographical History of Norfolk, 1739
  • Gazetteer of Great Britain & Ireland, 1898
  • Gazetteer of England and Wales
  • Cassell’s Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland
  • Scotland Gazetteer
  • Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland
  • Gazetteer of Scotland
  • England, County Maps, 1695-1940
  • Wales Topographical Dictionary, 1844
  • Derbyshire History, Gazetteer, and Directory, 1857
  • Lincolnshire History, Gazetteer, and Directory, 1856
  • Leicester and Rutland History, Gazetteer, and Directory, 1863
  • Deacon’s Court Guide and Gazetteer of Devon
  • Wales Topographical Dictionary, 1833
  • Suffolk History, Gazetteer, and Directory, 1844
  • The Railway and Commercial Gazetteer of England, Scotland and Wales 1907
  • Leeds and Bradford, Yorkshire Area Directory and Gazetteer, 1853
  • History, topography and directory of East Cumberland
  • Topography and Gazetteer of England, 1831
  • A Topographical and Historical Description of Nottinghamshire, 1810
  • World Atlas, 1844
  • Monmouth, Wales: A Topographical and Historical Description of the County
  • The New Lancashire Gazetteer or Topographical Dictionary, 1830
  • A Topographical and Historical Description of the County of Buckingham, 1804
  • Royal Atlas of England & Wales 1895
  • Worcestershire, Magna Britannia 1721 with Modern map
  • Atlas of London and Suburbs, 1917
  • Emigration Atlas 1852

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