Gazetteers are dictionaries of place names that describe towns and villages, parishes, districts, rivers and mountains, population size, and other geographical features. Additional information may include major manufacturing works, canals, docks, railroad stations, and postal stations. Gazetteers usually include only the names of places that existed at the time of publication. The place names are generally listed in alphabetical order, similar to a dictionary.
You can use gazetteers to identify the places where your family lived and to determine the civil and church jurisdictions of those places.
The Family History Library Catalog has the following collection of Chinese gazetteers:
Handbook on administrative divisions of the People's Republic of China, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Commerce, 1965 (FHL International book 951 E5j; film 795620, Item 6).
Gazetteer of Mainland China (FHL International book 951 E5g).