When was my house built?


17 March 2021
Houses at Oldhallowgate, Ripon, c.1911. Now demolished
Discover how to uncover clues that can tell you when your house was built, who lived there before you and even what stood there before it was built in our house history guide.

How old is my house?

Whether you’re curious about the history of your own home or want to find out when an ancestor’s house was built, there are lots of ways to delve into house history. Read on to find out what to look for to help you:

  • narrow down a date range
  • clues about previous inhabitants
  • what the neighbourhood was like in years gone by
  • find old photos of your house
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Find old photos of your house

Whatever age your house, it’s possible that it has featured on a postcard or photo at some time over the years. The local history group for your town or village may have an online or offline collection of old photos and of course you could check with neighbours, particularly people who’ve lived on your street for a long time.

Our blog has lots of ideas on places to look, including the What Was There website that invites people to submit old photos of an area. 

Online house history

Check out our top five websites for house history and use these as a springboard for taking your search further. At the time of writing (March 2021) Covid-19 restrictions are still making it difficult to visit libraries and archives and so online archives are a great way to get started.

You might find old maps that give clues to what was on the site of our house before it was built; aerial photos to show how a place has changed; or maybe even a postcard of your house or street – it’s surprisingly how many seemingly ‘ordinary’ places have featured on postcards over the years.

How to trace the history of a postwar house

If your house was built in the years following World War II, you could be forgiven for thinking that it might not have much of a history, but you could be surprised… In this special blog, Family Tree editor Helen Tovey explains how clues such as street names could give you an idea of an area’s past life, whilst electoral registers can help you piece together details of who lived in the house when it was first built.

Have fun and happy searching! 

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