Articles on the History of Essex, Researching your Ancestors, and British History

Essex on the map.

map of essex hundreds
Map of the Essex Hundreds 1830
Image courtesy of Smb1001 on Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Using maps to discover the history of Essex and its people.

Maps are great assistance to the local historian and genealogist. These are links to various maps of Essex which are available on the internet. Some are very good quality, but others are, frustratingly, very blurred or are only available in good quality format through commercial sources, or require a personal visit to an archive.

The most comprehensive and best maps for Essex are:

The Chapman and Andre 1777

Chapman and Andre maps at 2 inches to the mile. The best online source by far is in Spain, the Virtual Library of Bibliographical Heritage: a map of the County of Essex : from an Actual Survey taken in MDCCLXXII, LXXIII & MDCCLXXIV [Mapa] by John Chapman and Peter Andre. Use the search engine for author: Chapman Andre. Then click on the image and 25 sections of the map are available for download.

1777 chapman and andre map of coggeshall
1777 Chapman and Andre map of Coggeshall

Other copies are available online and are linked below. Another source are the archives at the Essex Record Office.

Ordnance Survey maps

The Ordnance Survey maps at 6 in. and 25 in. to the mile published from the mid-19th century onwards. These can also be found at the Essex Record Office or on the links detailed below.

The best quality images by far are from the excellent National Library of Scotland's website. They provide the Ordnance Survey's six-inch series for England and Wales between 1842-1952. Either as individual sheets, or a zoomable overlay layer (1888-1913) on modern Google and OS maps, or as a zoomable layer (1888-1913) side-by-side with modern Google and OS maps. or through the links supplied for each location in our A to Z of Essex places. They are at medium resolution and some individual details are difficult to make out, but they are detailed enough to identify some individual houses and features, and follow the trail of a census return.

Francis Frith (Commercial)
High quality images for framing +can be purchased. (Commercial)
High quality images for framing can be purchased.

Title Maps

Finally, Tithe Maps for each parish. These mostly date from 1837 to 1850 and provide a detailed map of the parish with a land ownership schedule. This example is from our Kelvedon Hatch tithe page. Again these are available at the Essex Record Office, just search their Catalogue under the tab 'Images'. While on the subject of the record office, there are many other maps also available online: including estate maps, parish and manorial maps, and builders maps.

Tithe Maps for Essex are also to be found on The Genealogist webiste with a database of the tithe map schedules for England and Wales covering 40 counties and containing over 14 million names.

See our article on Tithe Maps for more background informtion

Rootsweb website

Early maps of Essex in varying quality and size.

These includes a small selection of the 1777 Chapman and Andre maps in high definition.




Motco website

1786 John Cary's map of the area of Ongar and Blackmore is very similar to the Chapman and Andre's map.

London Ancestor website

Map which accompanies the Report of the Boundary Commissioners for England and Wales,1885.

More articles on the History of Essex, Researching your Ancestors, and British History

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Find your Ancestors in the Newspapers

Essex Standard Newspaper

Newspaper archives are now a very important source of information for researching your family tree.

Find your ancestors in the newspapers.
Try our example search to discover if your ancestors are in the British Newspaper Archive.

Also look at other newspaper archives and learn how they can help you research your ancestors. >>more

Looking for pictures to add to your family tree album?


Ebay is a good source of old images of Essex towns and villages. Throughout this site you will find many examples of postcards you can find on Ebay, some orginals, others digitally restored and enhanced. To go straight to the ebay pages this link is formatted for .