When it comes to finding old maps online, the National Library of Scotland’s free website is an essential part of any family historian’s toolkit. It even allows you to overlay one map on top of another, with the top layer made semi-transparent so you can compare it with the one beneath.
Why do this? The obvious reason is to compare how a place looked during your ancestor’s life with how it appears now or at some other point in history. Last year, the NLS launched new options in the form of digital topographic models to add to the collection of satellite views and traditional maps (old and new). This allows you to get an idea of the terrain in which your ancestors lived.
The map overlay can be accessed via the georeferenced maps section. Once you’ve found and annotated a map, you can print or save it. You can also access the feature via other parts of the site, including ‘Find by Place’ and ‘Browse by Mapmaker’. Target the map you want, then zoom in to your chosen location and hold Alt as you click on the map to switch to a georeferenced maps view.