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How to trace the history of your home

If you live in a house of a certain age, the chances are you're not the first inhabitant. So, who came before you? Has the house always been in your family? If the walls could talk what stories would they tell? Here are the best tips, Findmypast search tools and record collections that can help you unlock the history of your home.

As censuses generally recorded the householder's address on their returns, it makes them really useful resources for finding out who was living in your house hundreds of years ago. You can search all our Census records using either a name or an address.

Electoral Rolls and Registers offer an incredibly detailed insight into not just the history of our democracy, but the history of our homes. Individual entries can include a name, address or abode, a description of the property, and the name, a description and the residence of the landlord - or the person to whom rent was paid.

The 1939 Register is not only one of the most important documents in modern British history, it is also one of the best ones for tracking the housing landscape in England and Wales at the outbreak of World War 2, before much of it was destroyed. You can search the Register by address, filtering by borough/district and street as you go. Not only that, you can actually view your house and it's surroundings on a map that gives you three visual perspectives - late 1800s, mid-1900s and present day.

Rate books recorded how much tax householders paid, making them a really useful resource for finding out who occupied your house in bygone days. The rich detail included about the house can mention the occupier's and owner's names, a description of the property at the time the record was taken and the amount paid for it.

All of these records can be accessed by going to 'Search' in the main navigation bar and then going to 'Search A-Z of all Records' and looking for any of the above, and filtering by country on the left hand side to narrow your search.

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