Recently, on an episode of  the BIG Detecting TV and Radio Show we hosted a ‘research’ special episode featuring Tony Cawood of ‘TcDetects’ YouTube channel. We will include the episode at the end of this article and HERE is a link to Tony’s channel TcDetects on which you can find some more details explaining different aspects of site research.

We also thought it beneficial to add a beginners guide and links to the areas of research discussed.

LIDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges to the Earth. These light pulses—combined with other data recorded by the airborne system— generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape of the Earth and its surface characteristics.


A LIDAR instrument principally consists of a laser, a scanner, and a specialised GPS receiver. Aeroplanes and helicopters are the most commonly used platforms for acquiring LIDAR data over broad areas. Two types of LIDAR are topographic and bathymetric. Topographic LIDAR typically uses a near-infrared laser to map the land, while bathymetric LIDAR uses water-penetrating green light to also measure seafloor and riverbed elevations.

LIDAR systems allow scientists and mapping professionals to examine both natural and man made environments with accuracy, precision, and flexibility.

To access LIDAR data and examine the area you wish to research, we advise using the LIDAR finder website. This can be used on mobile phones, but the site is best viewed on PC, Laptop or tablet.


GeoHack is a modified version of map sources it offers multiple links to various mapping services, when a user clicks on a link with geographical coordinates. Simply access the online GeoHack tool, enter the co-ordinates as listed below and the tool we access multiple map links, photograph’s, Wikipedia articles and other useful information.

How to acquire your co-ordinates.

  1. On your computer, open Google Maps. If you’re using Maps in Lite mode, you’ll see a lightning bolt at the bottom and you won’t be able to get the coordinates of a place.
  2. Right-click the place or area on the map.
  3. Select What’s here?
  4. At the bottom, you’ll see a card with the coordinates.
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Maps app .
  2. Touch and hold an area of the map that isn’t labelled. You’ll see a red pin appear.
  3. You’ll see the coordinates in the search box at the top.

Tithe Maps

 What was the Tithe Survey?

Tithes were originally a tax which required one tenth of all agricultural produce to be paid annually to support the local church and clergy. After the Reformation much land passed from the Church to lay owners who inherited entitlement to receive tithes, along with the land.

By the early 19th century tithe payment in kind seemed a very out-of-date practice, while payment of tithes became unpopular, against a background of industrialisation, religious dissent and agricultural depression. The 1836 Tithe Commutation Act required tithes in kind to be converted to more convenient monetary payments called tithe rent charge. The Tithe Survey was established to find out which areas were subject to tithes, who owned them, how much was payable and to whom.

Individual tithe owners sometimes prepared maps for their own use to show who owned what land. These maps are sometimes also called tithe maps, although such maps are not common before 1836

The maps and schedules held by the commissioners passed to the Inland Revenue (the predecessors of HMRC) and are now held in The National Archives at Kew (classes IR29 and IR30). In a partnership with The National Archives and a family history data website, TheGenealogist, it is possible to search the apportionments and view tithe maps. The black and white maps and apportionments that are online cover all that are available for England and Wales while there is an ongoing project by TheGenealogist to scan the originals in colour, some of which they have already made available.

Most of the extant parish copies are now held at the county record office or local library. The diocesan copies for most Welsh parishes are held in the National Library of Wales at Aberystwyth. Prior to the publication of large scale Ordnance Survey maps in the late 19th century, tithe maps were frequently copied (in whole or part) for other purposes: for example in connection with planned railways, or as part of the title deeds transferred on a sale of land. More recently, tithe maps and apportionments have often been used for reference by genealogists and other historical researchers. For many parishes they provide the only large scale map showing the landscape prior to the Industrial Revolution, and they frequently provide the earliest evidence for the field system in the parish.

I am very lucky. I live in Cheshire. Most of the Counties Tithe records are available online here

Other resources

Is their a building or house at the location listed? The National Heritage List for England (NHLE) records a brief overview of the date of construction and significant features of every listed building in England.

Talk to the landowner and local community, you will be surprised on what older members remember or information has been passed down through generations.

What administrative area are you looking at? Knowing the names of the county, registration district and parish in which ypu are researching will help with locating relevant records.

A fantastic article was published by Treasure Hunting Magazine about researching field names, Click here for the PDF of the article, you can also download or save the document.

The Valuation Office record maps serve as the means of reference to more than 95,000 field books which contain descriptions of some nine million individual houses, farms and other properties. See the research guide Valuation Office survey: land value and ownership 1910-1915.

National Farm Survey – The food emergency created by the Second World War led to the National Farm Survey. See the research guide National Farm Surveys of England and Wales, 1940-1943.

Enclosure maps -The enclosure movement of the 18th and early 19th centuries led to extensive redistribution of land, although enclosure did not take place everywhere. Some enclosure awards and maps are held by The National Archives and some by local record offices. See the research guide Enclosure awards

Local history societies may also be able to help you. You should be able to find details of your nearest one and other useful information on the Local History Online website.

Remember. All the research methods discussed can be used to look at any site or even your home if researching family history. Personally, I have been agog atthe amount of new information I have gleaned from using these, mostly simple, links. The hardest for me, was using GeoHack but once able to discover the Co-Ordinates, the amount of new data I was able to access was mind boggling.

Now, our recent episode of  the BIG Detecting TV and Radio Show featuring Tony Cawood of ‘TcDetects’ YouTube channel, discussing all of the above and more. We also include some of Tony’s own videos on site research, including Tithe maps, Geohack, Field names and Side by side LIDAR maps.

A big thank you to Tony Cawood for his help, assistance, input and use of his videos.