M is Maps and Microfilms

MMy AtoZ 2016 theme is how to pursue an interest in family history/genealogy – I’d love you to join me on the journey.

We’ll have short meander into M as it ties in so well with the previous post.

M is for MAPS

Many of us just love browsing maps for the sheer pleasure of it, but this is business….we want to advance our research.

Maps can tell us so much about our ancestors’ lives. What the land was like where they farmed, where the nearest church is in relation to them or if there are hills, rivers or mountains between them. Did they live in a big 19th century city or a tiny hamlet that has long ceased to exist?

Reiterating – libraries, along with their mates, the archives are where you want to search first. Do you live far away? This is when all that digitisation really comes to the fore.  There are some magnificent maps available online and my favourite is the National Library of Scotland.

Another intriguing resource is the Booth’s poverty maps of London which will give you wonderful insights into the area where your London ancestors lived: were they crooks and crims, or among the upper or middling classes?

Map Tullamarine,jpg(1892). Parish of Tullamarine Parish of Maribyrnong Retrieved April 9, 2016, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-232027555

And then there are the valuation maps which are so important in England and Ireland.

If you have ancestors who came to your country in its early days, check whether the archives (or libraries) have settlement maps which detail who owned which plot of land.

On my genealogy travels, near and far, I like to carry a copy of an old topographic map of the era. This enables me to look carefully at what I’m seeing for insights to the past.

microfilm reader
Old and new technology: image from wikipedia commons.


Old and new technology: image from wikipedia commons.

We talked about films from the LDS church in the previous post, but I didn’t mention that genealogy societies may also have films which haven’t been digitised.

One example might be funeral directors’ records: the index may be on a commercial site, but believe me, there’s a lot more on the films including (mostly) family names. Check out whether your local genealogical society has microfilms of the original records.

Thank you for visiting me on this journey. I love comments <smile>

There’s a plethora of reading choices on this year’s A to Z Challenge, so my challenge to you is to visit the sign-up page and select one (or more) blogs to read between the numbers 1400 to 1499.

7 thoughts on “M is Maps and Microfilms

  1. Ooh yes thise Booth maps are 3cyraordinary. Thanks for the heads up about National L8brary of Scotland. I’m not sure if I’ve checked that out alreafy or not. I suspect not.


  2. I like the maps that show the families and where they lived in proximity to their neighbors. Our Library of Virginia has a wonderful microfilm collection. I’m so glad they upgraded the readers though because it’s a much easier experience scrolling through and snagging an image.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those maps can be fantastic…I found a bunch of people from the same place in Germany living near each other. It sure does make a difference when the reader is newer and works better. The two at Darwin’s family history centre were shockers.


  3. I found quite a few of those maps with the owners name on them. We call them cadastres here.
    I found all my Devon ancestors with the help of the Devon Apportionments and accompanying map. I hadn’t found anything yet for my Scotland ancestors, I will have to check the Scotland Library online collection – thanks for the tip!

    Liked by 1 person

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