His­toric maps

View­ing old maps is a great way to imag­ine the en­vi­ron­ment in which your an­ces­tors would have lived. The Na­tional Li­brary of Scot­land ( NLS) has digi­tised many his­toric maps cov­er­ing Scot­land and also the south-east of Eng­land.

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1 Go to the NLS web­site ( www.nls.uk) and click ‘Map im­ages’ un­der ‘Pop­u­lar Ar­eas’. The ‘Ex­plore’ page de­tails the ex­tent of the web­site’s map col­lec­tion. It cur­rently con­tains Scot­land, parts of Eng­land, Ire­land, Bel­gium and Ja­maica. There are plans to ex­tend the cov­er­age for Eng­land. 2 If you have a spe­cific area you wish to find maps for – for ex­am­ple, an­ces­tors based in Kens­ing­ton, Lon­don – click on ‘Find by place’. In the box to the top left of the page that opens, en­ter a place name or post­code. A range of avail­able maps will ap­pear on the right-hand side of the page. 3 Click on the in­di­vid­ual map panes to view what’s avail­able. In this ex­am­ple, there are maps cov­er­ing a broad range of dates from 1866 to 1938. Se­lect one and an im­age of it will ap­pear (dou­ble-click on it to zoom in) along with an op­tion to print in PDF for­mat at the bot­tom left of the page.

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