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Essex is situated to the northeast of London and stretches from Saffron Walden in the north to Southend-on-Sea in the south and Colchester in the east. Most of the original county remains, but during the 20th century parts of southwest Essex were absorbed into Greater London as London boroughs. Southend-on-Sea has also become a unitary authority independent of County Council control.
Your Essex ancestors may have lived near the coast and been involved in the various maritime industries or may have been agricultural workers further inland. The southwestern part of the county became increasingly urban in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and many workers moved to London in search of employment.

The county town is Chelmsford, situated almost in the centre of the county, and this is where the Essex Record Office is located. 

The map below shows Essex as it was towards the end of the 19th century. Click on the map for a larger version.

Essex map 



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