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Map Help


Wigtownshire
click on map to view in full size, 48K
Map provided by Genmaps


To view a current map, click Current Wigtownshire Map. Once on the multimap (now 'Bing') site, use the navigation device to move on the map, and increase the scale.
The National Library of Scotland has released a digital library of historical maps. Available are Maps of Scotland, 1560-1928, Pont maps, and 18th century Military Maps of Scotland.
Counties, Countries and Other Mysteries
Great Britain, the main island of the British Isles, today comprises three countries, Scotland, England and Wales. Scotland and its neighbor England have been divided into administrative areas known as counties, or shires, since the early Middle Ages.

The counties are further divided into civil parishes, which are generally much the same as the parishes of the Church of Scotland in Scotland, and of the Church of England in England. These parishes also once had a substantial civil government function but that gradually eroded to almost a nullity over the years. However, during the latter part of the last century, the time-honored county divisions were also abolished in both countries, and modern maps often no longer show the traditional boundaries. New districts or regions often combine smaller counties, or break up larger counties, and are not often useful yet for genealogy.

Other district names have long histories too. In our area, Galloway today comprises Wigtownshire and Kirkcudbright, but in times past it has also included the Carrick district of Ayrshire and at least part of Dumfries.

Adjoining to the East are The Borders, a group of former counties which hold the border with England, much disputed for many years until about 1600. Across the Solway to the South in England is Cumbria, formerly the counties of Cumberland and Westmorland and a small part of Lancashire. And finally, to the West, not more than 20 miles across the Irish Sea, is Ulster with which Galloway, and Wigtownshire especially, have very many strong historical and genealogical connections.

If You Are Having Trouble With a Modern Map

Since the latter part of the 20th century, the old county boundaries have been changed so much that a modern map won't help too much in defining what we understand as Wigtownshire. So, if you don't have a map with such boundaries marked, they can be described this way. Find Stranraer on your map, and go North on the coast about ten miles. Now draw yourself a straight line going East. Above this line is the Carrick District of Ayrshire, our neighbour to the North. Next find either Newton Stewart which is on the River Cree, or find the River Cree, as it passes by Newton Stewart. Draw a line on your map going North West through Newton Stewart, or along the Cree,(which is roughly the same thing), until it hits your first line. To its right is the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, our neighbour to the East. Not accurate, but fairly close to the actual wiggly lines.

Where are the Parishes?

To view the boundary lines for Wigtownshire Parishes, click here to view our All Parish Map.

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