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Maps can help you find where your ancestors lived. There are many types of maps. Each can help you in a different way. Historical maps describe economic growth and development, boundaries, migration and settlement patterns, military campaigns, transportation development, effects of plagues, and other historical information. Road maps provide details on highways, rivers, and town size. Other types include parish maps, county maps, topographical maps, enclosure maps, civil district maps, and church diocesan maps.
Maps are published separately or in bound collections, called atlases. You may find maps in gazetteers, guidebooks, local histories, directories, or history texts.
City and street maps are helpful for research in large cities. A partial list of such maps available at the Family History Library is:
- India, Pakistan, Ceylon Map (FHL book 954 E7b)
- India, Physiographic Regions (FHL book 954 E7pr)
- Chandīgarh, Delhi, Haryāna, Himāchal Pradesh and Punjab (FHL book 954.5 E7c)
Use maps carefully for the following reasons:
- Several places may have the same name.
- The place-name on the map may not be spelled as expected, because names were often spelled as they sounded.
- State boundaries are seldom indicated.
- Finding a Specific Place on the Map
To do successful research in Indian records, you must identify where your ancestor lived. Because many localities may have similar names, you may need some additional information before you can find the correct area on a map. Search gazetteers, histories, family records, and other sources to learn all you can about the area, including the following:
- The state where the place is located
- The civil registration district that served your ancestors
- The names of the churches
- The size of the town
- The names of other villages in the area
- Your ancestor’s occupation
- Nearby localities, such as large cities
- Places where related ancestors lived
- Nearby features, such as rivers and mountains
- The area’s industries
This information will help you distinguish between places of the same name and help you locate the correct place on a map. See India Gazetteers.
Finding Maps and Atlases
Collections of maps and atlases are available at historical societies, county record offices, and public and university libraries. Major collections for India are at the British Library at http://www.bl.uk/ and can be accessed by entering "Map of India" in the search window. (Also see India Archives and Libraries for addresses.) The Family History Library at http://www.familysearch.org also has a collection of maps of India. These are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under the following:
INDIA - MAPS