Local & House History Research

Uncovering the secret past of your house or local area.

Local and House History

If your interest in the past extends to your house or neighbourhood, Achievements can research a house or local history. We can start with whatever you know about your house or local area; our researchers' aim will be to add to your existing knowledge, uncovering the different layers of the past.

The types of sources used when researching a property include census returns, trade directories and probate records. These can give an idea of who lived in your property, and what occupation they had. If your house is older, it may be that tithe and manorial records and maps can aid with research.

Case Study

With any house or property it is important to establish whether it had another name or number in earlier times. Roads were often redeveloped, and renumbered, particularly during the twentieth century, and house names could be changed at whim by the owners.

In the case of one research project, it was known that the number of a property situated on Canterbury Road, Birchington, was modern. It was first important to establish an earlier number, or even name, of the house.

Surviving sale documents showed that it was once known as 3 Park Villas, which was essential information to researching the property. It was also shown that it was built in around 1903.

The first step was to identify the property in the 1911 census. Searches of 3 Park Villas found one Alice Watmore, a widow, living there.

1911 census for 3 Park Villas

1911 census for 3 Park Villasn close up

Trade directories also revealed that Alice was still living there in 1913. Directories can be really helpful in tracking who was living in a property, and what occupation they had. In this case Alice was listed in the "private residents" section. The property was relatively large for a widowed lady, and it was clear that she would have had private means to support herself.

Directories also provide a potted history of a parish, including information on transport links, schools, churches and industries present there. They can be an excellent starting point when researching any given area.

Kelly's Trade Directory 1913 for Kent, Surrey and Sussex

Kelly's Trade Directory 1913 for Kent, Surrey and Sussex

Kelly's Trade Directory 1913 for Kent, Surrey and Sussex

The 1911 census showed that Alice Watmore was from Essex, and her will of 1933, showed that she had left Kent and was then living in Sheffield.

There are no census returns available to the public for after 1911, but the 1939 National Register, taken on the eve of World War Two, provides a useful source for the mid-twentieth century. By this year a Foreman family was living at 3 Park Villas. General Registration records showed that members of the family were still there in the 1940s.

Once information on those who were living at this address had been found, searches of newspaper records could then be undertaken. Birth, marriage and death notices, together with sale particulars, or adverts for jobs can all provide information on who was living in a property, and what they were doing there.

If you are interested in the history of your own property, contact us today to discuss research further.

“The scrivened family tree was forwarded to me from Honduras..Thank you for your assistance and efforts over the past few years and I passed your name and address on to a number of interested people.”
A.W.D., San Salvador

How can we help?

Give us a call us on:

08000 939383 (+44 1227 462618)

Or send us an email and we will offer a free no-commitment quotation for your research.