A Treasure for Those with Leeds West Yorkshire Ancestors

The West Yorkshire Archive Service has a website called “The Leeds Tithe Map Project.” They have digitized and made searchable the tithe maps of what is now the Leeds Metropolitan District. These maps cover the rural and urban townships from 1838 to 1861. They provide a look at land ownership, land occupancy and land use.

These maps were used by the diocesan and parish officials. Several do have a little damage but they are generally in good condition.

The website says you can compare the tithe maps to other historic maps as well as modern and aerial maps. You can search the database by a persons name and examine the land and its uses. There is an option to download maps using customized search options and print full colour selections from the datasets.

There is a guide to using the “Tithe Map Digital Resource” that you can download as a PDF.

The “Leeds Tithe Map Digital Resource” can be searched by specific township, personal name and postcode. You can browse the maps or search by other options. The last one takes you to a search page where you can search for a particular owner or occupier, use a soundex code search or browse by first letter of the last name.

Other search options include advanced search, plot name search and place search.

When you search by last name you get a transcription of the data that includes: township, parish, plot, landowner(s), occupier(s), plot name, land use, acres, roods, and perches. Then there is a link to the map.

You can save as a spreadsheet, show all on the map or clear the search results and try again.

When you click on the map link you get a digital copy of the map with the plot of land outlined in yellow. The tithe map I looked at was from 1836-51. I had the option to look at the Ordnance Survey (OS) c1890, OS c1910 and a large map. Each time the land in question is outlined in yellow.

On the right hand side you have the details of the plot of land that were found in the search. You can access a modern map, aerial map from 2006 and 1999, OS c1800, OS c1910 and plot details which includes the vicars name to whom the tithes are payable.

Under show more you can show owners on map, show land use on map, township boundaries and plot outlines. The last option is highlighted and this takes you back to your highlighted plot of land. There is the ability to print the view of the map you have found.

I enjoy the ability to view a modern aerial view of the plot of land you are researching. This puts it into a more modern perspective with the historic perspective right next to it.

Other resources on the site include the Tithe to 2009 Trails. These contrast the 19th century area with the modern day area. They are downloadable PDF files with the trail marked on a map and there are pictures and descriptions of the area to learn more as you walk the trail.

They have made the tools on the website available as an outreach program to the community so that everyone from school children to seniors can go out and learn more about the area in which they live.

They went out into the community to run Memory Workshops where they talked to the seniors about their memories of the area to as they say “ensure that the hidden histories of communities across Leeds were uncovered and recorded.” This is something that every community should do to preserve their own community histories and memories.

There is a glossary and FAQ page, copyright guidance and useful links and feedback.

This website is a treasure and it is not only useful to family historians with connections to Leeds but is a wonderful piece of history to hand down to future generations.

If you have ancestors in Leeds then this is an excellent free resource to help you place your ancestors in the area.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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