What’s my home’s story?

Angela Ellis

Recently featured in the news was an article about hiring a historian to give your home the edge when it comes to property marketing. Whether you’re selling or not, you might be interested to know if your home holds some secrets, and there are ways of doing this research yourself.

Finding out why your home was built is a great start into knowing more about its story. As well as talking to your neighbours and contacting your local history group, delve into your library’s studies and archives unit. Head online to see historical maps and use Google Earth to see how your community has changed over time.

Do you know when your home was built? Your deeds should have information pointing to the year the home was built and should have been given to you when you purchased it. Alternatively, the recorder's office should have a copy of the deeds and records for your property on file as public record.

If your home was built in time to have been included in the 1910 ‘Domesday’ survey which listed every UK home and its occupiers together with drawings, this should help with your research. Or you can start with who lived in your property before you and go back through electoral rolls held in your library. 

Once you have a timeline and names of the previous occupiers, you can start to research who they were. This research can be done online as well in your library using old newspapers and local history books. It’s always worth a rummage in the loft to see if they’d left any clues or relics (worthless or otherwise)!

Converted or listed properties may hold more interesting stories. The further through history you go, the more likely you are to find an unusual story. Good luck!

Here are some useful links to help with your research: