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Your Archives:Historical Streets Project
From Your Archives
What is the Historical Streets Project?
This is a local and family history project where you are invited to write stories about localities, properties, institutions, and businesses etc.
The National Archives is in the process of converting about 300 binders of street indexes to the censuses of England and Wales for 1841-1891 to create an online finding aid and local history resource.
Currently the street indexes to the 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871 and 1891 censuses are uploaded onto Your Archives.
Why have we done this?
- Historically the only way to find people in the censuses was by knowing an address where someone lived. If they lived in a small village it wasn't too difficult to browse all the pages for that village to find the people you were interested in. However, in larger towns especially as populations moved into urban areas many parishes grew rapidly in size making browsing difficult, also populations in urban areas moved quite regularly as their situtation changed with better or worse jobs or change in family sizes. Some towns grew rapidly in size meaning that streets were lengthened, changed, abolished, renamed etc. To help researchers street indexes were produced for towns and areas with populations of more than 40,000 people.
- Although, all of the English and Welsh censuses are now digitised and indexed by person's name, it is not possible to search some censuses by address. At the moment only the 1881, 1901 and 1911 censuses allow address searches.
- Why would people want to find addresses? They may be wanting to make a study of a property or area. They may be looking for a family known to be at a particular address but can't find them in searches.
- By uploading into 'Your Archives' rather than producing online wordprocessed or pdf documents we are making the street indexes fully searchable and using the flexibility and functionality of Your Archives to enable you to write stories of places, streets, buildings, businesses and institutions and to create cross-references and links to articles in Your Archives and to external resources.
Unfortunately, there are some limitations to the indexes:
- There aren't street indexes to the whole of England and Wales
- The indexes are organised by Registration District which did not always relate to historical administrative areas such as parish, county, poor law union, borough, hundred etc.
- These were created over a very long time and so standards and styles changed and you will find some indexes more detailed than others.
- The creators of these indexes used shortcuts bringing related properties together such as "Cross Keys Court & Mews" with a range of folio numbers to browse. Many streets have prefix or suffix information such as New Bond Street - the original indexes listed this under "Bond Street, New" so you would need to look under B. Hopefully these have been corrected to modern practices but errors may crop up - so if you are looking for streets with New, Old, Lower, Upper, Greater, East, West, South, or North etc obviously you can search but if you are browsing you may need to look under the principal name of the street as well as under South, or New etc. If you can improve the index please do so.
- Institutions such as schools, prisons, gaols, asylums, workhouses, barracks, churches, and almshouses etc, as well as ships, barges, and public houses are sometimes listed under the name of the institution and sometimes under the type of institution. There are a few instances where the type of institution is unknown and these have been listed under 'Institution. Again searching should find them.
Using the street indexes
Note that only street indexes to the 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871 and 1891 have been included on Your Archives so far.
- You can use the search box (on the top left-hand side of this page) to search for a specific street or place in a particular year
- for uncommon names you shouldn't have any problem identifying the relevant page
- for more common names such as "Rose and Crown" or "Broad Street" you will get too many hits and will need to add further information such as registration district. County and parish information is not included in the index but you can add it.
- When you find an entry make a note of the document reference which will start HO 107 or RG together with the folio number. You need this information to look at the online census images - there may be a fee to access the images.
- Note - in order to put in document references and folios on Ancestry you need to use the old search. If you go to the relevant census year in Ancestry and do not find the reference boxes click on search on the menu bar and on the far right just below the menu bar click on "Go to old search" - this should give you the old search screen when you go back to the census pages.
- Go to the relevant Category to see which registration districts are included - those which have been indexed will have the format Place:name of registration district, census year street index, for example Place:Chelsea Registration District, 1851 Census Street Index:
- Click on the letter of the alphabet that you want to go to.
- Note that New Bond Street should be under N for New but may be under B for Bond, the Rose and Crown may be under P for public houses or under R for Rose
Why can't I find a particular street or property?
- There may not be an index for the particular locality
- If you are looking for a numbered place it may not have been indexed separately, for example 5 North Street, Marylebone in 1851 is included in the entry for 1-65 North Street
- The street or property may not have been built at the time
- The street or property may have been renumbered or called something different at the time
- The street or property may have been demolished
- The property such as a hotel, school or public house may not have been ennumerated by its name and be in a numbered dwelling
What can I do?
- You can write a history of a property, street or area. This can be anything from a single point in time to a historical summary covering hundreds of years.
- Descriptions should be factual making reference to archival or bibliographic sources used. If you have used archival sources please give the archive and the full reference.
- You first need to search to if there is already an article for that subject. If there is one please add your knowledge to the article to help other researchers - you need to sign in to make any changes.
- If there isn't one you can create a page to start your work - please read the help page for correct titling of articles on places.
- All articles relating to a place should start with Place:
- The title should include the address - this can be a modern address or a historical one if the address no longer exists
- for example business or property name or number, street name, town or village, county
- If the article relates to a specific date or short period please include that in the title
- If the article relates to broad areas such as a history of a town, village or parish etc give the pre-1974 historical county name - include the modern county/administrative unit in the introduction.
- To help you start we have created links from street or property information in the first column of the indexes. If the text is red this means that no-one has added any text, otherwise the text will be in blue.
- This link takes you to a page which contains the same name as the text in the column and the registration district. We have done this because the indexes relate to registration districts which may cover several villages or parishes, etc.
- Note where there may be several streets or places with the same name in a registration district this page should be used to summarise each of the different locations and contain links to the individual locations.
See our sample page for ideas of what you can do and sources to use.
Sources to use
To research a property you will need to use sources held at The National Archives and local archive services and maybe private archives. Such sources will include:
- manorial documents
- electoral registers
- title deeds
- national or local government records especially for properties managed or owned by the government or local authorities, received grants or were subject to inspections
- tithe maps and apportionments
- 1910 Valuation Office survey maps and field books
- national farm survey
Please go to the article on local history for further information.
Warning: Default sort key "Historical Streets Project" overrides earlier default sort key "Census Street searches".