PEOPLE interested in their local family and parish history can now access digitised images of a unique collection of historic parish maps online.
Tithe maps of the 1840s are often the earliest detailed maps of parishes, showing houses, roads, footpaths, fields and woods etc. providing a snapshot of life in Staffordshire at that time.
Records accompanying the maps which include the names of the owner and occupier of each plot have also been made available.
The two related projects, which took ten years to complete, were carried out by Staffordshire County Council’s Archives and Heritage service with support from a large team of volunteers and the Friends of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archives.
Volunteers spent the first seven years indexing the tithe awards containing all of the background on each plot of land.
Once this was completed, the Friends raised the funds required for the digitisation of the maps using a state-of-the art digital camera.
The maps and records are being made available this week to coincide with national Volunteer’s Week from 1 to 7 June and can be viewed free of charge at https://www.search.staffspasttrack.org.uk/search.aspx?SearchType=2&PageIndex=1&ThemeID=774
Richard Totty, chairman of the Friends of Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archives, pictured, said: “These are fascinating historical records for the county and are important resources for anyone interested in parish, house and family history.
“Many of the maps are beautifully hand-drawn and it’s great news that they are now available for people to view online. It was a long project but we’re all really pleased with the final results. I’d like to thank all the volunteers for their time and those organisations who provided the funding to make it happen.”
Gill Heath, cabinet member responsible for the Archives Service at Staffordshire County Council added: “We are very proud of our rich history and heritage here in Staffordshire and it’s wonderful news that the Tithe maps and records are now available to view.
“The maps are a great addition to the six million plus historical records we already have online access too and will give us an even greater insight into life in Staffordshire at the time.
“I would like to say a huge well done and thanks to the team and the army of volunteers who helped make it possible.”
The project received funding and sponsorship for individual maps from local history groups, parish councils and businesses, as well as individual donors.