5 top websites for tracing the history of your house

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08 May 2020
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Five websites to help you find out about the history of your house and the people who lived there before you.

If your house is more than a few years old, the chances are you’ll have wondered who used to live there, what it used to look like and how the area has changed. Here Mike Nutley spotlights some useful websites to help you learn a little more about the history of your home.

It’s never been easier to start uncovering the history of your house, as more and more archives and resources are being brought online, although there are still a lot of gaps in the records, so you may find yourself setting out for a trip to the relevant archive – in the future.

1. Old Maps Online

Old Maps Online indexes over 400,000 old maps, making them searchable by place name and directing you to the sites where they can be viewed.

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2. Britain From Above

Aerial photographs are a great way to get a sense of how areas have changed. One of the most fascinating resources of this type is Britain From Above – this hosts images from the Aerofilms collection, which was started by two WWI veterans in 1919, and ran until 2006.

3. Tuck DB Postcards

The TuckDB site is a database of postcards published by Raphael Tuck & Sons, the world’s largest publisher of postcards in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It’s also worth searching eBay for antique postcards – there’s an amazing number out there.

4. A Street Near You

A Street Near You maps the impact of the First World War on local communities around the world by matching those who died to their address.

5. Chimni

As you start collecting all these stories and images, it’s useful to have somewhere online to keep them. Chimni is a ‘home management site’ which also allows you to build a timeline for your house, and offers loads of hints and tips to help in your searches.

For post-World War II housing research ideas, read Michael Nutley's article (see below).

These websites are taken from Michael Nutley's 'Getting Started With House History' article in the June issue of Family Tree magazine