skip to content

Archif Melville Richards: place-name databaseWelsh place names.

CIA - World Factbook. Country level information and some maps.

Columbia Gazetteer of the World Online. World gazetteer providing simple place name searching as well as more complex searching by type of place, size, etc. Full text searching also possible. Not available outside the University.

Gazetteer for Scotland. Being developed by Bruce Gittings of the University of Edinburgh and the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

Gazetteers of Scotland 1803-1901. Scottish gazeteers are also available at the Internet Archive

Gazetteer of British Place Names. From the Association of British Counties. Mainly settlement names. 

GB1900. If you use the Georeferenced Maps option on the National Library of Scotland website you can search for names on Ordnance Survey six-inch maps from around 1900, just use the 'Search OS six-inch 1888-1913 names' search box on the left hand side (it is in a slighter darker purple/grey box).

Genuki. Listing of web-based gazetteers covering the whole of the British Isles. Others covering smaller areas are listed on the relevant country and county pages. Results can be shown on a map. Note that some of the gazetteers are under development. 

GeoNames.  Provides access to over 3 million place names outside of the USA.

Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names. A structured vocabulary containing around 1,000,000 names and other information about places. Includes all continents and nations of the modern political world, as well as historical places, physical features and administrative entities, such as cities and nations. 

Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). Contains entries for almost 2,000,000 geographic features in the USA. The site is maintained by the United States Board of Geographic Names and the US Geological Survey, and a nice feature is that you can link from the search results to a map showing the location of the place.

Heritage Gazetteer for Cyprus (HGC). 

Historical Directories Searchable Digital Library. Digital library of local and trade directories for England and Wales, from 1750 to 1919.

Historical Streets Project. The National Archives is in the process of converting about 300 binders of street indexes to the censuses of England and Wales for 1841-1891 to create an online finding aid within Your Archives. Might be useful for finding building names, etc. BUT the indexes are only available for communities with a population of over 40,000. Use the search box in the top left of the screen. 

Irish Ancestors. Search for Irish place-names.

JewishGen. A genealogy website with a 'your ancestral town' option where yoi can search the JewishGen Communities Database which contains information about 6,000 Jewish communities in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. The KehilaLinks (formerly ShtetLinks) page may also be useful. 

Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of England, Samuel Lewis (ed.), 1848 (7th ed.). Contains detailed topographical accounts of places, parishes and counties in England. [CUL has several editions available for consultation within the Library] 

Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Ireland published in 1837 via the Library Ireland website.

Library of Congress Country Studies. Not really a gazetteer but lots of background information.

Latin Place Names. An online list of Latin place names found in the imprints of books printed before 1801 and their vernacular equivalents. Also try Orbis Latinus Online. Also look at Omnes Viae, a reconstruction of the Tabula Peutingeriana.

London Street Name Changes. Useful website for all things related to London maps but especially changes to street names. Maintained by Bruce Hunt the author/publisher of several books on the topic. Geographical Search Engine for all things to do with mapping of GB, includes OS trig sources, web mapping site comparison table and an excellent online World co-ord Converter.

Northern Ireland Place-Name Project - Placenames NI. Search for a place names and discover historic names; also search for modern and historic maps from the 1830s. This is an ongoing project.

Northern Ireland - Valuation Revision Books. On the PRONI website. Fully searchable placename index to the Valuation Revision Books (VAL/12/B) covering counties Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone between the years 1864 to 1933.  In total, c.3,900 volumes were digitally captured, with over 440,000 images now available to view online. No maps. 

Ordnance Survey Gazetteer. Search the OS 1:50,000 gazetteer for place names and discover the National Grid reference, OS map number, and view an online map of the area. The search will retrieve Eastings and Northings but if you need latitude and longitude search and then scroll down to the bottom of the page on which your map is displayed and click on the link that says: "Click here to convert coordinates". A set of conversion results will then be displayed for that particular search. The Ordnance Survey also provides information on the origin of place names.

Permanent Committee on Geographical Names for British Official Use. Links to a selection of web sites throughout the world dealing with geographical names.

Place Names on the Internet. An extensive set of links provided by Arizona State University.

Pleiades. A gazetteer of ancient places. Extensive coverage for the Greek and Roman world, expanding into Ancient Near Eastern, Byzantine, Celtic, Early Islamic, and Early Medieval geography.

SACO. Excellent and comprehensive list of online gazetteers made available through the Library of Congress program for Cooperative Cataloging.

Shtetl Seeker (now part of JewishGen). Search by name or location for populated places in Eastern Europe, many of which no longer exist.

Le SPLAF Site sur la Population et les Limites Administratives de la France. Maps, history and gazetteer.

UK Placename Finder. From Archaeology UK for the communities of field archaeologists, family historians and placename researchers. Provides a number of methods for interrogating the dataset. Search results provide links to a map, aerial photograph and historic and archaeological sites. 

Vision of Britain Through Time. An extensive site offering descriptive information on boundary changes as well as images of old maps, census data and travellers' tales.

Opening Times

Map Room Opening Times

Monday to Thursday 9am to 12:45pm and 2pm to 5:10pm
Friday 9am to 12:45pm and 2pm to 4:50pm 

i.e., we are closed lunch time, in the evenings and on Saturdays. However, given sufficient notice, we may be able to transfer Map Department items to the Rare Books Reading Room for consultation during these closed periods. 

Remember: Pencils only in the Map Room and No food or drink!

Where to Find Us

Library Floorplan

The Map Room - the Map Department's Reading Room - is on the first floor of the Library at the far end of the North Gallery. At the top of the stairs from the Library's Entrance Hall, turn right and the Map Room is at the end of the corridor. 

We are very close to the Tea Room.

Contact us

Map Department 
Cambridge University Library 
West Road 
CB3 9DR 


+44 (0) 1223 333041
+44 (0) 1223 333042
Our LibGuide may help with some enquiries