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

Essex Maps for Family History.

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

Adding maps to your family tree.

Having researched your family tree and collected census returns, civil registration certificates and parish registers, it is always good idea to add a map or two.

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.

Chapman and Andre map of 1777

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

The Chapman and Andre 1777 maps are scaled at 2 inches to the mile and the earliest detailed map covering all of Essex. The best online source by far is the webiste of the Spanish '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. Click on the image and 25 sections of the map are available for download.

Other copies of the 1777 are available online and are linked further below.

Ordnance Survey maps

6-inch map of Kelvedon

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

The best quality online images by far are from the excellent National Library of Scotland's website. They provide the Ordnance Survey's 6" and 25" series for England and Wales between 1842-1952.

The 25 inches to the mile maps are the most detailed historical maps produced by the Ordnance Survey. They can be used for local history research, house history research, or discovering where your ancestors lived if used in combination with the census returns.

Three editions are viewable:

  • Essex (1st Ed/Revised 1862-96) Revised: 1895 Published: 1897
  • Essex (New Series 1913) Revised: 1919 Published: 1921
  • Essex (New Series 1913) Revised: 1940 Published: 1947

The maps can be viewed as individual sheets using a zoomable map of England and Wales; or as a seamless zoomable overlay layer (1890s-1920s) on modern satellite images and OS maps; or as a seamless zoomable layer (1890s-1920s) side-by-side with modern satellite images and OS maps.

The interface takes a little while to get used to, but once that is achieved then you will be amazed at the detail contain in the maps.

The Vision of Brtain website has the Ordnance Survey's First Edition (1805 for Essex, other counties may be later) and the 1945 edition. Both are served in a viewer which is zoomable. They can also be downloaded. Quite good quality image.

Southend-on-Sea before it became a seaside destination for holiday makers. First Series Ordnance Survey Map 1805

This work is based on data provided through and uses historical material which is copyright of the Great Britain Historical GIS Project and the University of Portsmouth. Licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence BY-SA-4.0 These are at medium resolution and some individual details are difficult to make out, but they are just about detailed enough to identify some individual houses and features.

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

Tithe Maps

Tithe Map for Kelvedon Hatch

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 Map. Again these are available at the Essex Record Office, just search their Catalogue. Some have been made available online. Narrow down the search by selecting on the drop-down box: '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

British Library

The British Libary's Online Gallery has many maps of Essex. Well worth a look.


An easy to use gateway to many of the Ordnance Survey Maps held by the National Library of Scotland, the map collection of the Britih Library and other libraries and collections is provided by It provides an easy to use search facility based either on place name search or by map navigation

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.




It is always good to add pictures of where your ancestors lived as well. See our article on Essex Images for Family History.

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

Find your Ancestors in the Newspapers

Essex Standard Newspaper

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

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

Help me find my ancestors

Looking for an unusual Christmas Present?

Why not buy a DNA kit for a family member?

Let them discover the story of their ancestors.

The kit is delivered to their door. Now discounted to £63 on Ancestry

Learn more at Ancestry DNA.

Looking for pictures to add to your family tree album?


Ebay is a good source of old images of Essex towns and villages. If you're looking for pictures to add to your family tree album, then try one of the auctions, or there are several 'Buy It Now' shops offering postcards which have been touched up and improved - so if you're unsure about bidding, try these. Link already formatted for Essex Postcards. Browse through or type the name of the location in the Ebay search box.