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Discerning place names

Guidance for finding place names that may be familiar and advice for using the Scotland's Places website.
© University of Glasgow, Scotland’s Places and the National Library of Scotland

At times determining place names can be difficult.

As the course has taught you, spelling was not uniform in the early modern period.

In addition, place names can and do change over time.

Perhaps the best resource when attempting to discern place names is Scotland’s Places

Scotland’s Places is a free resource that lets you explore thousands of records about Scotland simply by searching for a place name, clicking on a map or typing in your postcode. Search results bring together three national collections so that you can easily find maps, photographs and written records about your chosen place.

You will find a wide range of records on ScotlandsPlaces:

  • Maps, Surveys and Plans
  • Photographs
  • Archaeological Records
  • Drawings
  • Tax Rolls
  • Ordnance Survey Name Books
  • Publications

The records are drawn from three national resources:

Further information on place names, map-making and maps of Scotland can be found on the National Library of Scotland’s Map Images website. This incredible collection covers national, county, estate, and town maps, as well as coastal charts and military items. All maps are searchable by place name and can be compared over time.

With these resources at your fingertips, you will be able to delve even further into the history of early modern Scotland. This will help you contextualise the records you are transcribing.

© University of Glasgow, Scotland’s Places and the National Library of Scotland
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Early Modern Scottish Palaeography: Reading Scotland's Records

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