Friday, May 15, 2009

National Library of Scotland Online (Maps & Books)

Hello All -

I thought I would give a plug for the online digital archives of the National Library of Scotland today. I was having a look at their website and thought their digital library is an excellent tool to be used as a social history resource for anyone who is thinking about writing their family history as a book.

I am very big on maps. I always like to put them in my research reports for my clients. In my opinion, it gives a better picture of an ancestor - where they lived, what was around them at that time in history, etc. It is also interesting to see more modern maps and compare them to the older ones. There are many cases where an ancestors residence is no longer there, or has totally changed in its appearance. For example, a particular family on our side had a farm not far from where we live (you could actually see the area from our back window), but when you see it now, there is nothing but houses there - there is no trace of that farm anymore. But if you saw a map of that area about 100 years ago, you would see the farm plainly with no houses anywhere near it (just open fields).

A great place to find old Scottish maps online is at the National Library of Scotland in their online maps collection. You can view them at this link http://www.nls.uk/maps/index.html.

The National Library of Scotland also has a digital library. It can be viewed here http://www.nls.uk/digitallibrary/index.html. The digital library has quite a good number of online publications from their collection. It can be good social history resource for looking more in depth at Scottish history and life. A good family history should have elements of social history to make your ancestors "come alive." Ancestors should be more than just a name and a date and a location - how did they live, what was it like in their town or village at that time, etc.

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