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Tips for tracing London Relatives - please add you

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Unknown Report 18 May 2005 09:54

London is made up of lots of parishes and it can therefore be very difficult to research relatives and their lifestyles, particularly before civil registration began in 1837. If anyone has any ideas, tips, resources, useful websites etc and especially any success stories please add them here. Thanks. Lyla. P.S. Can anyone tell us anything about their experiences searching for London ancestors (if it’s at all possible) in such places as court/police records, pallot marriage index, Trinity House records, schools, workhouses, hospitals, poor law and settlement records or any other resources that you have tried.


Unknown Report 18 May 2005 09:55

What was the occupation of your relative? In the 1851 census my relative was listed as a Cordwainer born City of London. I found his apprenticeship records and it told me his address and the name of his father. If your ancestor worked for the Corporation of London there are a lot of records held at the Guildhall Library in London but they really only cover the City of London (Square Mile). To give you an idea of the sort of records available try this link Does anyone know if there are any other similar records for people who worked outside the City walls and if so where they are kept?


Unknown Report 18 May 2005 11:14

For Docklands ancestors there is a lot of useful information at www.parishregister*.*com including among other things some online parish records and a lot of information about Watermen The East of London Family History Society has lots of helpful links and message boards. Charles Booth and the London Poor. This website gives a good insight into the lives of people living in nineteenth century London and maybe you will even find that he interviewed one of your ancestors or walked down the street where they lived. has lots of interesting information about all aspects of life in Victorian London Another REALLY useful site is http://www.gendocs.demon*.* which has lots of information about Victorian Churches, Streets, Institutions, Inns etc The Proceedings of the Old Bailey 1674 – 1834 – Maybe you will find an ancestor mentioned here - Anyone got any more useful websites?


Phoenix Report 18 May 2005 13:48

There's a little book called (I think) Lists of Londoners, which suggests all sorts of different places in which you can find lists! There are also books available on London Schools and (rather out of date now) London Cemeteries and Crematoria. Try the Genfair website for other titles.


Trudy Report 19 May 2005 15:41

With London/Middlesex census addresses, it's always worth remembering that a lot of the roads still exist, and a search of www.royalmail*.*com (remove *'s) will give you a postcode, which can then be used to search something like multimap, giving you an exact location if you're trying to tie families/people together. Has worked for me on several occasions. Trudy


Susanne Report 19 May 2005 16:22

Odds and ends for London here: http://www.londonancestor.*com/ Sue:-)


Heather Report 19 May 2005 17:32

Ive managed to find some of mine in trade directories - you can find directories at historicaldirectories site. Its not an easy site to navigate, but worth having a look.


Emma Report 20 May 2005 12:27

Hi, A brilliant way to track relatives if you're not sure of where all the different parishes are in London is to download Parloc - this is a freeware program available from www.parloc.pwp.blueyonder(.)co(.)uk . The program is brilliant for establishing which parishes to concentrate your efforts on when searching. If you have, for instance, one known rellie born in Cripplegate you can then enter 'Cripplegate' in the parish field and find all the other parishes within a specified distance i.e. .5 mile. Very handy if you're trying to ascertain which names from the IGI records could possibly be connected. Hope this makes sense!! Emma.


Brenda Report 21 May 2005 10:24

Many of our ancestors were from the Shoreditch/Dalston/Bethnal Green areas, which seemed to have churches on every corner. If you find relatives on the census then it's really worth buying the old ordnance survey maps for the area because churches are marked. This saves hours of trawling through church records away from the address. Maps can be bought on-line from Alan Godfrey maps.


Unknown Report 21 May 2005 10:29

Following on from Totally Confused's point about directories: This site has various London post office/Kelly's etc directories for various periods. Some cover inner London, some the suburbs and not all areas/times are covered, but if you are patient you can often find people. This is particularly useful for tracing Londoners between censuses, or dates between certificates. You need to click on search by keyword, then choose London area then the decade. You can then click browse and put in a page number. The program tells you how many pages the directory you have selected has, so I usually put in a page number about halfway through. Then you just have to go forwards or backwards till you find what you want. I have found publican ancestors, fishmongers (cunningly hidden under 'Salesmen - fish'), as well as private residents in the street directory. The FRC also has London Directories in its census index section. nell


Unknown Report 22 May 2005 10:07

Original Added by Sandra Goldsmith on 26/06/2004 15:49:20 VERY USEFUL FREE SITE!!!!Bow Creek School, Leamouth, Poplar Anyone looking for people from Orchard House/Place, area in Poplar, London. Look at the 'Bow Creek School' website. It has names, d.o.b.'s, address's and much, much more on this site. If you are connected to the area in any way it is very useful. Stombling upon this site is what got me started on my search, and boy am i addicted now!!!! Sandra www.bowcreek(.)co(.)uk


Kim Report 22 May 2005 10:59

Lyla, my 'brick wall' ancestor was a Cordwainer born City of London (but earliest trace is in Micheledever Hampshire in 1851, unfortunately not living with his family .) Where do you get 'Cordwainer' apprenticeship records from? Many thanks Kim


Unknown Report 22 May 2005 11:08

Hi Kim If you think he might have served an apprenticeship in City of London there is a name index for Cordwainers at the Guildhall Library (see the link I gave above for dates etc). If you want me to check the index for him feel free to add a request on my rainy day thread on the records board. They usually started apprenticeships at age 14 so let me know the approximate date especially if it was a common name. Lyla


Unknown Report 22 May 2005 11:20

Not sure it will help tracing anyone but have a look at Fantastic insight into London life back to 1700 Lou


Unknown Report 22 May 2005 11:39

Original Added by Totally Confused on 16/05/2005 21:57:51 Another interesting East London site Just doing a bit of trawling (in between making my Tesco order online) and found this interesting site: www(.)eastlondonhistory(.)com for those of you whose ancestors (poor sods) lived in the east end. Lots of brilliant stuff.


Unknown Report 22 May 2005 11:44

Original Added by Louise Randall on 13/05/2005 21:03:36 website of old photos of S.E. LONDON and its suburbs I remember seeing a thread about this site a while ago but thought I would post it again as there may be others who didn't see it (couldn't find the old thread). It is Also has a bit of history on the different areas. Louise


Unknown Report 22 May 2005 11:49

Original Added by Peter Walker on 17/02/2005 10:03:03 Site about London Just found this site, Its a Free to join site www.storyoflondon.*com/index.php lot of history info and chat about London, research done by locals


Kim Report 22 May 2005 12:18

Lyla, Thankyou, I will add to your records board thread, though I think he already on there John Pursey born 1836/7 City of london,although 22 in 1861 census. Kim


Unknown Report 22 May 2005 12:50

City of London Livery Companies - Another site with useful links is


Phoenix Report 23 May 2005 13:04

If your ancestors had sufficient money to be the main tenant in a property, look to see if rate books survive. We were able to establish roughly when best friend's ancestor moved (in 1852 - just after a murder was committed in his lodging house!) by consulting the rates books in Westminster Archives.