House history (part 2)
Challenge: The people who
previously lived in your house are an integral part of it’s history. Can you
find out more about the people who used to live in your house?
How do I do this: For your House
History research always start your research from the present day and work
backwards. If you have already done House History Part 1 you will have an
idea of the date your house was built. To start, ask your parents or
guardians if they have the title deeds for your house (they may not have
them or may not have access to them). If they are available, check these
documents to find out information about previous owners and dates of
ownership. The information in these documents will vary but will include
very detailed facts about previous owners. Do not be discouraged if you do
not have access to these documents.
For older homes, you will be able to discover
quite a bit by trying to locate previous owners or occupiers in the Census.
Depending on the date your house was built any occupants who used to live in
your house should be found in the UK census returns (1841-1911). Try using
the address search facility on findmypast here:
Remember : that your house may
not have been given a numeric street number and so you may have to look
carefully at the census returns in order to find your house. Your house may
have been renamed. Suggested places to find this information: Use Online
census resources. Go to your Local Studies library or Archives. Suggested
records for you to look at include:
- Census -The census was taken every 10 years
in the UK from 1841 and is a survey that contained a specific set of
questions in order to find out and record information about members of the
population. The census will show where a person was living, who else was
living in the household, occupation (job) and from 1851 family connections
the householders had to each other, whether they were married or single
and place of birth.
- Electoral Registers – These record the name
and address of those entitled to vote. The electoral registers will be
most helpful to you when trying to establish who previously lived in your
house. The occupiers of the house may not have been the owners. Also, be
aware that voting rights changed over the years.
- Probate and Wills - Probate & Wills may
identify the value of the estate and name other family members, executors,
administrators, date & place of death. This is helpful to see who may have
inherited money and property in a family.
- Parish records- Here you will find
information related to family relationships. Parish records are especially
helpful if you are looking for people who were born, married or died
before 1837. Civil registration did not start before this date and
therefore you will not find the modern equivalent of a birth certificate,
marriage certificate or death certificate to assist you.
- Directories –Another useful source of
information that will include local people & businesses in a community
based on date.
- Gazetteers - A gazetteer is a geographical
directory which will include important reference information about places.
Give names & address of important local people, businesses and a
- Telephone Directories – will give you names
and related addresses.
- Trade Directories – will give you names and
- Newspapers (birth, marriage and obituary
announcements)- Newspapers are especially helpful to determine more
personal details or facts.
Not all these resources may be relevant to your
particular house. However, in general these documents will help you to
identify and confirm previous residents of your property and identify
specific dates which will help you to create a summary of previous residents
of your house.
Suggested resources and useful websites: