Sunday, June 17, 2012

Maps to enhance family history

The NSW State Library now has over 14,000 New South Wales parish maps electronically accessible via eRecords. Produced by the NSW Lands Department between approximately 1860 and 1990, parish maps contain details of land ownership in New South Wales and are a very useful resource for local historians and genealogists. You can find them by searching with the phrase Parish maps of New South Wales.
Next up for the eRecords Maps team are 528 NSW county maps and 2300 town maps. The county maps show land holdings at a smaller scale than parish maps – a great tool for research into rural properties stretching back to the 1850s – whereas the town maps detail  land ownership in town centres at a larger scale than that shown on parish maps.
Land and Property Information (LPI) is also undertaking a major digitisation and conversion program to deliver more land records online, enhancing access to many historical documents.The program is converting titles into the electronically delivered Torrens Title system and digitising one of the largest government holdings of archival records. By imaging records and transferring the originals to State archives LPI is also ensuring the long-term preservation of valuable historical documents, some of the oldest of the state of NSW.
LPI is digitising and conserving many different types of land records and plans going back to 1792, and aerial photos going back to 1947. Since the program started in 2004, more than 14 million records have been digitised. Some records available are the Old Form Torrens register, Historical Parish Maps, and Plan Lodgement Books.
When a Parish or Town 'charting map' maintained by Crown Lands had so many amendments that no more changes could fit on it a new edition was drawn up and the old map became a "cancelled" edition. Cancelled editions of Parish and Town maps maintained by Crown Lands have been available through the Parish Map Preservation Project. The maps will soon be available for viewing online in the Historical Land Records Viewer (Pixel).
Parish and Town maps are an important index to land information. By examining previous editions of maps at different points in time you can see how subdivisions and other actions have altered property boundaries.
The maps:
·         show the boundaries of individual land parcels in relation to physical features such as roads, rivers, railways and seashores
·         provide a reference to the Crown plans, the official survey plans for those parcels
·         may show the name of the first land owner, grantee or lessee and the first title information (Vol-Fol) for each parcel granted after 1863
·         shows administration activities over Crown lands such as reserves, licenses, leases and roads.
Free access is currently through the Parish Map Preservation Project and will become available through the Historical Land Records Viewer (Pixel).

The National Library of Australia also provides access to maps through its trove website. You can search for a particular map or by a subject or locality. Locations for maps are listed and some are also available on line.



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