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Online Gazetteers

Print Only Gazetteers

  • The Cambridge dictionary of English place-names : based on the collections of the English Place-Name Society. 2004 by Victor Watts, John Insley and Margaret Gelling. Cambridge, England : Cambridge University Press. FHL book 942 E5w
  • Gazetteer of the British Isles. Reprint of 1943 edition. Edinburgh, Scotland: John Bartholomew and Sons, Ltd., 1966. (Family History Library book 942 E5ba.BYU Harold B Lee Library book DA 640 .B23 1966) This gazetteer lists and describes townships, chapelries, and parishes. [Note: This publication does not provide names of the ancient parish in which small place-names lay within, such as townships, chapelries, ecclesiastical parishes, villages and hamlets.]
  • In addition to gazetteers, post office directories list places in a county and usually give the same type of information as gazetteers. For more information see England Directories.
  • Smith, Frank. A Genealogical Gazetteer of England. Baltimore, Maryland, USA: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1968. (Family History Library book 942 E5g.BYU Harold B Lee Library book DA 640 .S46.). An abbreviated form of the above gazeetter.

Why Use Gazetteers

A gazetteer is a dictionary of place-names. Gazetteers list or describe towns and villages, parishes, states, populations, rivers and mountains, and other geographical features. They usually include only the names of places that existed at the time the gazetteer was published. Within a specific geographical area, the place-names are listed in alphabetical order, similar to a dictionary. You can use a gazetteer to locate the places where your family lived and to determine the civil and religious jurisdictions over those places.

There are many places within a country with similar or identical place-names. You will need to use a gazetteer to identify the specific town where your ancestor lived, the state the town was or is in, and the jurisdictions where records about the person was kept.

Gazetteer Contents

Gazetteers may also provide additional information about towns, such as:

  • Different religious denominations
  • Schools, colleges, and universities
  • Major manufacturers, canals, docks, and railroad stations
  • The population size.
  • Boundaries of civil jurisdiction.
  • Ecclesiastical jurisdiction(s)
  • Longitude and latitude.
  • Distances and direction from other from cities.
  • Schools, colleges, and universities.
  • Denominations and number of churches.
  • Historical and biographical information on some individuals (usually high-ranking or famous individuals)