Saturday, May 11, 2013

Antique and Vintage Maps of India Discovered

1863 Map of Delhi
Last year, an Indian woman who was walking around London and browsing through items on the roadside found a large collection of old maps of India.  Though she originally planned to cut them up and reuse them for other purposes, friends advised her to have someone evaluate what she had found.  What she had thought about turning into placemats and coasters turned out to be some of the Survey of India's first maps of India, ranging from 1871 to 1928.  India was part of the British Empire during this period.

Some of the more significant items are a 1912 map of Delhi (now Old Delhi) and a 1928 map of Mt. Everest.  Also dating from about 1928 are accurately detailed travelers' maps of two UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Ajanta and Ellora caves in the state of Maharashtra.  The earliest maps are for areas that are in or near present-day Bangladesh.  The maps were purchased by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, and about 30 of the items were displayed in their offices until the end of April.

Maps are useful in genealogy because they show the development of cities and other areas over time and often include buildings and roads that may be connected to family members.  For example, the Delhi map shows the early British occupation of the city and the areas of the city where the native Indian population lived.

More information about the maps is in a Times of India article.

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