You know the saying “Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it” It has many applications in life some best not mentioned. With map collecting we’re pretty much on safe ground. So why do people do it?
It doesn’t involve Brexit! Thank god for that, but it often can involve your past, background and where you started out in life, where you’re from.
In recent years we’ve seen a growing interest in TV programs like Who do you think you are? And websites like Ancestry.com suddenly everybody wants to explore their very own family tree or discover the family history. It’s exciting, fascinating, sometimes heartbreaking to discover the lives that our long lost relatives experienced.
Even just tracing our own family history back a couple of hundred years is revealing in lots of ways. The more you find out about your relatives the more you want to see the places they lived and worked.
You somehow want to take yourself back in time and see those places as they were then, in the past. If you can find pictures or early photographs this can help. Land records and maps all help you get a feel for what it was like in times gone by.
The further back you go the harder it can get. Then it becomes more of a quest or hunt to find that missing link in the chain. Map collecting is pretty much the same. Maybe you’re just looking for something that tells you more about a certain place you have a connection with.
Maybe your family has roots in a certain area from way back, a town, a county or state, a region country or part of the world you simply have an interest in historically.
Old local maps and early photographs can help get a feel for what it was like in times gone by. This map by Henry Taunt from c1885 Published in 'A New Map of The River Thames from Thames Head to London' c1885 Oxford Taunt & Co 9 & 10 Broad Street, London. Click the link to see more: River Thames Maps
Finding what you’re looking for is rewarding, there’s a lot of fun in the chase. The reasons for collecting maps are as varied as the map collectors themselves. Does it cost a fortune to collect maps? Well it doesn’t have to.
All sorts of people collect all sorts of maps for all sorts of reasons. Like the family tree I mentioned, everybody’s past story is different. Every map collector is different and the reason they collect what they collect is often linked to their own story or journey through life.
You can start building a map collection with a modest financial approach. It can be just as challenging to find what you’re looking for as it is for those who are in a position to spend vast sums of money to gain that special prized map or collection.
If you’ve explored your own family tree and background, did old maps or prints play a part in your search? I’d love to know your story. Leave a comment below about your own experience.