Tag Archives: maps

See Sussex on Google Street View

11 Mar

At long last Google Street View images of Sussex along with most of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have finally arrived on Google Maps.

I saw the Google car several times last year in the town of Horsham, Sussex (where I was working at the time) and read reports that it had been in Brighton as well.

What I didn’t expect was that Google have covered most of rural Sussex (and the rest of the country) as well, including the small village where I live and of course many of the villages where my ancestors lived.

I’ve had a quick look around the county, visiting Henfield, Brighton, Horsham and Sayers Common. I could easily spend hours on there looking at my ancestors homes, retracing some of my walks, or just looking for people doing stupid things!

So get out there (or rather stay in) and start exploring the highways and byways of Sussex.

Magazine Watch: Ancestors (Issue 92: London Special 2010)

27 Jan

The latest edition of Ancestors magazine from The National Archives is a special edition focusing on the city of London. As the editor Simon Fowler says "Many of our ancestors were drawn to the capital for work, education and pleasure – even if they just passed through the city. No other place in Britain had the same irresistible attraction."

There is a great selection of articles in this issue, covering a wide variety of subjects including features on resources at the Society of Genealogists and the Bishopsgate Institute.

It would be hard to pick out my favourite article from this issue, there really are so many fascinating articles. The interview with novelist Lee Jackson has introduced me to a wonderful resource, the Dictionary of Victorian London which was a result of the background research for his historical novels.

My favourite article (and it was a tough choice) has to be the one by the editor Simon Fowler entitled Drunk and Disorderly, which describes the life of Jane Cakebread who "over a 15 year period, received nearly 300 sentences" for being found drunk and disorderly.

Although she became a well-known figure through the media of the time and despite the best efforts of one or two individuals, she ended her time in a pauper asylum, with only one person attending her funeral.

The most helpful article is probably Peter Christian’s Mapping the Metropolis which is an excellent summary of the maps of London which are available online. It is going to take some time to explore all the sources mentioned, although one worth highlighting is the Crace Collection of Maps of London at the British Library.

This has to be one of the best issues of the magazine I have seen for a long time, it is packed with interesting and informative articles concerning the city that plays a key part in so many of our ancestor’s lives.

More maps for my collection

30 Oct

These are my latest finds from my local Oxfam shop. Three Ordnance Survey maps of Sussex dating from around 1948-9. Not particularly old or in top condition, but they were real bargains, or at least I think so, at £1.99 each

Three maps

The scale of all three is the same,  1:25,000 (about 2½ inches to one mile), which is detailed enough to show the locations and outlines of larger buildings and farms. Most of the farms are named as are many of the country roads.

The one on the left is of the Haywards Heath area. Not so many places of ancestral interest here, apart from the asylum and the village of Cuckfield.

The middle one covers an area from Washington and Thakeham in the west to Bramber and Partridge Green. This includes part of Henfield, where the TROWER family were, Ashurst (home to the HAYBITTLES) and part of West Grinstead, showing some of the places where the FAIRS family lived.

The one on the right covers many ancestral villages: Cowfold, Twineham (showing the location of Ridden’s Farm, believed to be home to my WELLER ancestors), Bolney, Slaugham and Warninglid.

Whilst I don’t expect to actually discover much new information from these maps, there is always a chance of finding the location of a previously unidentified family home, that has since been demolished or changed its name.

The real interest comes from studying the maps and comparing with the present-day maps, seeing how things have changed. For example, one thing that immediately stood out was the number of trig points on these old maps, and how few of them survive today.

They had a few others in the shop, from the same series, if they are still there on Monday I may well get another couple, although these were the only ones of real family interest for me. Although I think I need to make a list of the ones I already have because I am starting to build up quite a collection.

Parish maps: where are they?

16 Mar

I can’t believe how difficult it is to get hold of maps of parish boundaries. I have been searching online to find a historic map of parishes in Hampshire, with very little success.

I have a splendid map from The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies but unfortunately it is approximately A3 size, not really practical for taking to the record office with me and not the sort of thing I want to be scribbling notes on as I go about my research (even if it is only in pencil). If only they or someone else produced a range of county maps that researchers could download and print copies.

I am sure there would be a market, just as there appears to be for old Ordnance Survey reprints, if I had the time I would try and do something on Google Maps or such like. I would love to be able to overlay parish boundaries, registration district boundaries and any of the dozens of other administrative divisions on a present day or historic map.

If anybody knows of a such product, preferably free, then let me know, until then I will make do with my old OS maps.

More MITCHELL research

4 Mar

Today I was finally able to locate where my 2x great grandparents were living at the time of the 1861 census. Sure, I knew where they were before now, at “Blue Anchor” in Sheet, Hampshire (RG9/700 folio: 77, page: 14) however until today I didn’t know where that was.

I guessed with a name like Blue Anchor it was probably a pub, but Google didn’t provide any results for Blue Anchor pub in Sheet. The answers could be found by examining their neighbours. Firstly, Blue Anchor was a pub, my 2x great grandparents were one of several families living there, not sure if it was actually in pub or in seperate properties next to it.

The addresses either side of the pub were Rams Hill and Broad Bush, well Rams Hill, Petersfield was easily found on Google Maps, and using that I was able to jump over to www.old-maps.co.uk and find the same location on an 1870 Ordnance Survey map, and sure enough there was “The Blue Anchor (P.H.)”, not a very clear map, but there it was. Looking back at Google Maps aerial view it appears that The Blue Anchor is no more, and the whole are has changed quite radically.

I searched for a better quality copy of the map on British History Online (www.british-history.ac.uk) which is a fantastic resource for all sorts of subjects, but it’s strong point is it’s topgraphical material. They have similar Ordnance Survey maps and I was able to locate a slightly better copy of the map (http://www.british-history.ac.uk/mapsheet.aspx?compid=55119&sheetid=3803&ox=4675&oy=2734&zm=1&czm=1&x=482&y=151). The Blue Anchor is in the middle of the large “T” in Petersfield. When I finally get to the Hampshire Record Office I should hopefully be able to get a better copy from them.

The moral of the story (if you need to be told), don’t take your ancestors in isolation, remember the people and places around them.

Of course this leads to more questions, such as how long did they live there ? or were they just staying the night? where did my 2x great grandfather actually work as an agricultural labourer? did the pub actually have a farm attached like several others I have researched? can I find a picture of what it looked like? Always more questions than answers!


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