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What Are Gazetteers?

A gazetteer is a geographical dictionary in which names of places are given in alphabetical order with location and/or coordinates. In addition, entries sometimes include pronunciation, what type of geographic feature it is, and brief historical information.

Gazetteers to Start With

Use the following online resources first but they represent just a starting point.  For historical place names, print resources can be very helpful.  Find them by using NUSearch and using Subject Headings = "gazetteers", or "(country)--gazetteers"

United States

USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) - The GNIS contains information about physical and cultural geographic features of all types in the United States, associated areas, and Antarctica, both current and historical. The entries are cumulative, including both historical and current names.

The Rest of the World

NGA GEOnet Names Server (GNS) - The GNS is the official repository of standard spellings of all foreign place names sanctioned by the US Board on Geographic NameThe database also contains variant spellings (which are useful for finding purposes.

Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names Online - Another popular gazetteer websity by the Getty Research Institute.

Canada : Geographical Names of Canada - Canadian online place name search site.

Europe : The JewishGen ShtetlSeeker - This database contains information on 2,000 Jewish communities (Shtetls) in Eastern and Central Europe plus plus all of the former Soviet Republics, and Turkey, as well as Jewish population figures, historical town names and jurisdictions, and links to JewishGen resources.