Tracing the history your house and finding out about the people who lived there can be a rewarding pastime. The purpose of this page is to suggest ways in which you can start your own research.
Before You Begin
- Decide what you want to learn about the property. Are you interested in the building or the people who lived there?
- Establish some background information about the property. Which parish is it in? Was it a church, a school, or a pub, etc?
- Consider the architectural evidence. Can the style of the building provide any clues?
- Consider the Title Deeds. These documents will tell you a great deal about the previous owners and any important changes made to the house.
- Is the property registered with the Land Registry as the register is likely to contain information on the sale, plus maps or plans depicting boundaries of the property?
- Is the building listed? If it is, a brief description of the building, its history and other matters of interest will be noted in the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest issued by Cadw.
Starting your research
- Printed Sources: Some parishes on Anglesey have written histories and many of which can be found in reference section of our search room or Llangefni library. These items can provide important information about your house and its occupants.
- Ordnance Survey Maps: For houses constructed after the late19th century begin by looking at Ordnance Survey maps. These detailed maps were surveyed at a scale of either 25” or 6” to the mile (Holyhead was surveyed at 10.56 feet to the mile) enabling you to pinpoint the site of a house in relation to its locality.
- Tithe Maps and Apportionments: For larger properties over 150 years old, Tithe maps and the accompanying awards form the main source of information on land ownership and occupancy for the mid-19th century. They record the names of the owners and occupiers, and the acreage and state of cultivation of each piece of land together with a block outline of the main building.
- Finance Act (1910) Records: The records are comprised principally of the valuation books, commonly known as the ‘Domesday Books’ and the large-scale (25” to 1 mile) Ordnance Survey sheets coloured to show the boundaries of each property. They are extremely useful as they provide a brief description of the property, the names of the owners and occupiers and a note of its value.
- Estate Records: Records relating to the estates on Anglesey are held at the Bangor University Archives. See: http://www.bangor.ac.uk/archives/
- Census Records:The census returns 1841-1911, are a rich sequence of records that will tell you about the people who once lived in your house, with details of their families, their occupations and whether more than one household or family was resident there at any one time.
- Sales Particulars: From about 1850 onwards, the particulars for the sale of farms, estates and urban properties, usually included detailed maps showing the house and the extent of land associated with the property.
- Electoral Registers: These records provide the names of persons eligible to vote with their addresses. The registers are normally arranged by street so it is fairly easy to compile a sequence of the names of those living in a particular house.
- Land Tax Records: These records are another valuable source as they exist for almost every parish for the late 18th to the early 19th centuries. Thus, they can be used to carry back information gleaned from the Tithe maps. Other useful sources are Window Tax records and where they survive Hearth Tax records.
- Map Catalogues: Anglesey Archives also has a series of map catalogues that can help you with your research.
- Probate Records: There are few original records held at Anglesey Archives, although some wills can be found in some solicitor’s collections. Abstracts and indexes for 1699-1858 are available in the search room.
- Photographs and Pictures: Old photographs and postcards are also another excellent resource. Please consult the index cards and catalogues in the search room.
- Quarter Sessions: The records created by the Courts of Quarter Session are another important source of information. For example if you think that your house was once used as an inn or an alehouse, then check the Quarter Sessions papers for victuallers’ recognisance’s. They also contain deposited plans and schedules for public works such as railways, canals and turnpike roads. Finally, they are also useful for researching non-conformist chapels, as licensing and registration was required at various periods and thus records indicating the existence of chapels may still survive.
This leaflet is not intended to provide an exhaustive list of sources for house history. If you would like more information on researching your property, please contact us.