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A gazetteer can locate towns and other localities that may not be found on maps and can let you know if there is more than one town or village by the same name.
Historical maps are invaluable for establishing the conditions and whereabouts of a particular village and how boundary changes would have affected ancestors.
The British Library at http://www.bl.uk/ has in its collection the Bombay Gazetteer, Madras Gazetteer, and Bengal Gazetteer. These gazetteers give the name and a brief history of various places in India. Some of the gazetteers were published during the East India Company period.
The Imperial Gazetteer of India
The Imperial Gazetteer of India, a 25-volume work, was published between 1908 and 1933 (FHL book 954 E5g).
The first four volumes of the Imperial Gazetteer of India pertain to the geography, history, economy and administration of the India under British rule. In the next twenty volumes is an alphabetical list of the towns and villages, the regions and other geographical aspects. The entries can be comprehensive in their historical, economic and demographic description.
The localities include towns and districts for the Indian Empire, which now includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar (Burma). Sri Lanka is covered in the four introductory volumes, but is not included in the list of localities that make up the other 21 volumes.
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