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Finding out the history of our house

(16 Posts)
Eastwickwitch Sun 02-Nov-14 17:34:48

Any idea how I'd go about it? Google throws up very little.
The house is C17 and appears on the census back to late 1800s.
It was GradeII listed in 1970 but the details are scant.
Have you ever done it?

Nepotism Sun 02-Nov-14 18:24:08

Yes, but my house was only late Victorian. County archives, national archives, maps, Kelly's Directories in your local library. Is it a town, rural area? The census returns are usually quite interesting, amazing how many people lived in one house!

LadySybilLikesCake Sun 02-Nov-14 18:27:37

Local library will possibly have a local history section, where you may be able to find maps of what the area used to look like 10/50/100 years ago etc. You should be able to see old photographs and news cuttings there too.

Eastwickwitch Sun 02-Nov-14 18:28:36

Thanks Nepotism, I've contacted English Heritage to ask.
It's a rural area, nearest big town is 20 miles away. I might ring the library there and ask.

ArthurShappey Sun 02-Nov-14 18:30:14

If you're on ancestry.co.uk I think you can do an address search to see who has lived there based on census information. But that'll simply tell you about the people who lived there rather than the history of the house.

Eastwickwitch Sun 02-Nov-14 18:33:00

Thank you, I've never heard of it. I'll have a look.

Rockdoctor Sun 02-Nov-14 18:43:15

We are in a similar house. The best source of information has been neighbours who have already researched their house and also the local museum/library. The library in particular has lots of local history books/photos/maps.

We also have a local historical buildings group that will come and survey your house for you for free - and then add it to their database. Don't know whereabouts you are, but I've just googled "historical buildings research group" and there seem to be a number of these groups around the country. Also known as "vernacular building research groups". May be worth a try?

Eastwickwitch Sun 02-Nov-14 18:54:49

Brilliant, thanks. I've found a local museum that seems to cover the area, I'll go and speak to them.

LadySybilLikesCake Sun 02-Nov-14 19:13:29

Good luck. You may have to go to quite a few different places, local newspapers may have archives too etc.

HarrietSchulenberg Sun 02-Nov-14 19:35:00

I've used old census data to find the first two occupiers of my house, from when it was built in 1899 up to 1911. I'm too mean to pay for searches after that date smile.
You could try the solicitors who dealt with your house purchase to see if they have the old deeds. Mine forwarded all ours when we moved in as she didn't need them anymore. First 30 years it was landlord owned so it was great to get the census info to find the actual people who were here.
It's absolutely fascinating stuff.

Eastwickwitch Sun 02-Nov-14 20:00:02

The only deeds are from the 1950s, before that the same family owned it for several generations.
I'm rather excited about it.

AnnOnymity Sun 02-Nov-14 20:12:58

Is there a local history society? I found out lots about our house from ours.

WhereYouLeftIt Sun 02-Nov-14 21:13:05

Your local county council will have a County Record Office. They will hold microfilm copies of census records, local newspapers going way back, any local history collections that have been donated over the years etc. I found records to do with my house all the way back to it being built!

Google 'county record office' with the name of the county. Have fun grin.

Eastwickwitch Sun 02-Nov-14 21:18:18

You lot are a wealth of information. I can't wait to find out flowers

Fermin Sun 02-Nov-14 21:25:29

Definitely ask neighbours etc. We only moved in about 6 months ago so have title deeds to hand. Ours was built by a property developer in late 1920's. Did a bit of research online and found old cine reels of where they built their estates in the Home Counties and how they built them - they're quite Art Deco. House has only been lived in by three other families since it was built. I also found out from a neighbour that during the war every single front room on our street hosted a Canadian soldier before he headed off to France. Fascinating. The Geffrye Museum in London is well worth a visit for something like this as they have loads of info on how to research your home.

wonkylegs Mon 03-Nov-14 05:54:18

We received all the old deeds for our house last week. They are fascinating and meticulous.
I love the original indenture from 1879 and the first mortgage on the house in the same year. There are also the contract negotiation papers for the sale of the land.
Beautiful documents and fascinating as we have details of every sale/deed transfer (twice through wills) from 1876 to us.
Copies of some of the documents we have are also held in the county records office.

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