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 Dept Lands | Parish Map History

The Parish Map in Family History Research

The absorbing and addictive hobby of family background research has gained a remarkably increased following in recent years. This text is intended to assist the researcher in the use of parish maps as an aid to investigations, and as such, does not touch upon many of the unrelated intricacies and recent use pattern changes of these maps. 
As an integral part of a comprehensive land recording system, the parish map - although neither designed nor intended as an archival document - can prove a rewarding source of information to the researcher. The information may not be an end in itself, but it can open up hitherto unknown avenues of inquiry. A brief description of the maps will help in understanding their purpose and potential.

County Maps
New South Wales is divided into 141 counties, the boundaries of which have a degree of stability not enjoyed by the more familiar subdivision boundaries of local government, electorate, and regional areas. Each county is, in turn, divided into a number of smaller areas called parishes. Parish Maps have not been compiled for land in the Western Division i.e., roughly west of a line from Mungindi to Balranald, or for land within the Australian Agricultural Company’s 646 640 acre grant in the county of Gloucester.

Parish Maps
There are over 7000 parish map sheets, and inevitably, there have been name duplications; therefore, it is essential always to identify a parish by both its and the county’s names. The parish is divided into portions, the numbers of which are shown on the map face. There are more portions in a closely settled area than in some of the more sparsely occupied parts of the State. When a town lies within a parish, its location is indicated but relevant information is shown on a more detailed scale in a town or village map. The breakdown is usually into sections and allotments rather than portions. Maps are not produced for "private" towns which have been subdivided out of privately owned land. In recent year’s portions, allotments and sections have given way to the better known real property system terms "lots" within "deposited plans", but this is of little significance to most researchers. 




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