This post shows you how to find free historical UK maps online using the National Library of Scotland Map Images website. This is an amazing free resource and very useful for giving some context to researching your British ancestors. The amount of historical maps that have been scanned, not just of Scotland but of the whole of the UK is simply stunning. For example, if I look at the village of Sawtry in England (where I grew up) there are 31 different maps available to view, ranging from an Ordinance Survey 1 one inch to the mile dated 1899 to an incredibly detailed 25 inch to the mile from 1892 showing every individual house and business in the village. By cross referencing with census returns, it is possible to pinpoint exactly where your ancestors lived.
The site is very easy to use once you get the hang of it. I recommend using the Geo-referenced Map Images page. Then in the “Find a place” box, type in the name of the village, town or city in Britain you want to look at. It will then zoom into that place, usually using the Ordinance Survey one inch 1885-1900 series map. You can zoom in and out or move around to see nearby settlements. You can also select different maps by clicking on the drop down “2. Select a map / map series” box. The 25 inch is usually the most detailed.