Getting started in house history

Tips for beginners in house history and key resources to get your research started

row of thatched cottages
  • House history can be researched in two ways: the history of the house and the history of its occupants.  
  • Before starting your research, bring together all the information you already have such as an inscription on a builder’s plaque, or details of owners from title deeds.
  • The best way to start is to look at maps and plans, beginning with a modern map to help pinpoint the house and then checking older maps to see how the footprint of the house may have changed as you go back in time.
  • Most researchers want to know what year a house was built.  If it was built after 1895, and building control plans survive, this is likely. If the house is older, it is unlikely that you will find an exact year of construction. Working backwards with maps until it disappears will help to narrow down a date range.
  • Keep careful notes about the sources you have used and the information you have found.