Tracing Your House History: A Guide For Family Historians

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Family History. Throughout the cruise, Gill will host several sessions and interactive activities on topics including essential records, information about DNA testing, how to use online resources, visiting archives and your next steps! Find out more via www. Anyone who wants to find out about the history of their house — of their home — needs to read this compact, practical handbook. Whether you live in a manor house or on a planned estate, in a labourer's cottage, a tied house, a Victorian terrace, a twentieth-century council house or a converted warehouse — this is the book for you.

In a series of concise, information-filled chapters, Gill Blanchard shows you how to trace the history of your house or flat, how to gain an insight into the lives of the people who lived in it before you, and how to fit it into the wider history of your neighbourhood. A wealth of historical evidence is available in libraries, archives and record offices, in books and online, and this is the ideal introduction to it. Gill Blanchard explores these resources in depth, explains their significance and directs the researcher to the most relevant, and revealing, aspects of them.

She makes the research process understandable, accessible and fun, and in the process she demystifies the sometimes obscure language and layout of the documents that researchers will come up against.

Tracing Your Family History on the Internet

As featured in the Wigan Observer. All of the houses in which I've ever lived, right from , have been fairly modern, so there would be no history attached to them. My wife's first family house, in Kilburn, could have turned up some secrets, had anyone been interested during the time she lived there.

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This is an excellent reference work, another superb addition to Pen and Sword's brilliant series. As featured in the 'read up on it' section part of Chris Paton's author article about 5 projects to transform your ancestral research. I was recently given a copy of this book to review and what a delight it was.

This book is more than a guide to researching the history of your house, or a house of interest.

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It is a font of interest if you are seeking to research and understand the social and domestic lives of people and their communities from early times. The book is comprehensively laid out over 7 chapters and gently walks readers and researchers through where to find information. Starting with indexes, catalogues and transcriptions before moving along to finding archives in Records offices, local history libraries, heritage, local and family history organisations and numerous online resources. The section on dating your home and house style is very comprehensive, starting with looking at architects and their role and then moving along to dating a building.

This nicely links into the third chapter which features architecture styles across the ages, commencing with Prehistoric through Norman, Medieval, Tudor, Stuart, Georgian, Victoria and Edwardian times. This chapter also looks at Modern homes, before moving onto discuss and provide resources for model villages, Garden Cities and Philanthropic Schemes, new towns and council housing.

Also touched upon is the Public Health and slum clearances, why they were necessary and what gave rise to them in the first place along with locating the redevelopment and clearance records. This is followed by two important areas; finding out about local history and then about the resources of Societies, groups and information.

Moving on from that is a section that looks at the visuals of such a study; photographs and postcards, along with paintings and drawings which add illustrative social context to your study. Chapter 5 is a very full and comprehensive chapter on resources. Many will be already known to family historians, such as Birth, Marriage and Death records, Parish records, and Census returns.

Using Written Archives to Discover the History of your House

Also included is business and occupation records, directories and gazetteers, Electoral registers and poll books, Fire Insurance records, Glebe and estate records. Various taxes are looked at, such as Hearth, Window and Land taxes. Land registry, deeds, Manorial records, Maps and plans.

The National Farm Survey which is a an often neglected source in family history research, Quarter session records, Land Owner returns — and Valuation Office Survey — and finally Wills. A real bonus for this chapter is the inclusion of the useful and comprehensive timeframe for each resource. The final two chapters deal with how you can present and write your own house history, but similarly this can apply should you be researching a One-Place study, before moving along to the directory of resources looking at Organisations, Websites and a selected Bibliography.

There is an index at the end of the book. All the way through there are illustrations in black and white with links to numerous and various web pages.

This book has been thoroughly researched and presented; and I believe it should be considered the book for those researching houses or a One-Place Study. It was a true delight to read and review. Disclaimer — I was provided with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Reviewed by Julie Goucher. Among the most comprehensive books on tracing house history, packing a great deal of information into just over pages. A complete guide to house history. There is a useful bibliography and an appendix of addresses for further research.

The image is an endearing one, peculiarly English in a Agatha Christie sort of way with a curious blend of bluff and intrigue. Gill Blanchard, genial genealogist and relentless researcher, is clearly tickled by the memory of the time she briefly became an uncover house historian. I have chosen a book which, on the face of it, does not deal with family history. However, we are all interested in where out forefathers lived and this is a very useful guide. It gives a potted history of domestic architecture, how to date a building and where records can be found.

How to Research Your House History

Throughout the text are useful websites, which not only expand your knowledge but will help you to find documents. While the specific missions of these groups differ, they all share the initiative to collect and preserve local history. Likely there will be an overlap of information but still check with all three resources since one group may have substantially more information that the other. Tell them about your house, why you are doing research, and ask for advice.

These are local history buffs, advocates for preserving local history. Why reach out to these folks? I emailed my local historical society Wakefield Historical Society and found out some great info in just ONE email I shot off late one night. Holy smokes their folks gave me info specific to my neighborhood, specific potentially to my specific property AND a path forward on how I should proceed! By the s, Elm Street was developing into an alternate pathway to the north. By the s a number of houses could be seen on a contemporary map.

A study of old maps can be very helpful with your search.

SoG Data Online

I attach a section of the caricature map of Wakefield showing the Elm Street area. You might enjoy checking them out online. If your house on the east side of the street [which it is] , it may have originally been part of the Suell Winn farm in the early nineteenth century. Earlier, it may have been part of the lands of Dr. The Dr. John Hay house was located around 53 Elm Street around Based on this information, I did some research and found out a bit about these two Wakefield natives.

After speaking with local experts, next head to the written documents. There are a variety of information available on a local level. But you will likely come across the following resources. Some resources are geared more towards the actual house i. Building surveys are conducted at the federal, state and local level.

A survey is an inventory of properties that are over a certain age and retain reasonable architectural or historical integrity. They are often used as planning tools as part of redevelopment activities or community plan updates.

Although often conducted by volunteers, they are best prepared by, or under the guidance of, individuals meeting professional standards. All you really need to do is ask your local resource what surveys are available for your area. My home was not listed in either a national or local district.

My Wishlist

However, there were other homes in my area that were listed and a discussion about my street in the local historical survey The Cultural Resources of Wakefield. And I found some compelling history about my neighborhood. As mentioned above, my house may have been part of farmland owned by Dr. John Hay or Major Suell Winn. This house, the Deacon Thomas Kendall Homestead, whose main house built pre is still standing.

Considering how close it is to my house, my house likely was part of their pasture.

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Tracing Your House History

There are several types of maps available — insurance maps, panoramic maps, topographic maps, aerial photographs and land ownership maps, to name a few. Some types of maps appear to be more prevalent in geographic areas than others. I found several historical maps that included my home. The map above is a panoramic maps of my current town Wakefield Massachusetts dated While hard to see individual property detail, I can gleam a lot of information about my town in the late s.

Orient yourself with a main feature like a main street, a railroad, a lake, etc. Many homes dated from the s to the s were built from plan books. These catalogs contained sketches and floor plans of homes, with the opportunity to buy the blue prints.