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.
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.