Welcome to the Family History Social

The very latest news from the world of genealogy



Maps for family historians and using them to explore the past

Maps are one of the most important visual aids that a family, social or house historian can turn to when exploring the homes of our ancestors. We may have already come across a record that has provided us with an address, or maybe all we have is just a place name, and we want to explore the surrounding streets or the area.


Tithe map of Sedbergh, Yorkshire courtesy of The National Archives

There are various types of map resources that we can use to step back in time, get a better understanding of the landscape that our ancestors would have been living in. By seeing the environment in which they had once lived enables us to see roads, rivers and railways that can explain where they moved on to, or where they had come from in the first place. 


Another line that we may research with the use of a map is for determining employment opportunities for people who had lived in a particular place in a particular time. The map could show us employment opportunities whether they were farms, mills, mines or some type of industrial building such as factories, distilleries, breweries and so on that had attracted our ancestors to live in that place.


Colour Tithe map of the Parish of St Cuthbert in York


Maps can reveal other fascinating information that can be useful in our research, for example we can often see who the landowners were and a historical map allows us to work out the nearest church or nonconformist chapel to where our ancestors lived. With this knowledge the researcher can then look for their forebears' baptisms, marriages and burials in the relevant records connected to that church/chapel.


We can use a range of maps from modern street maps of City & Town maps to historical maps drawn up in the past. Often the problem with a modern map is that they only show us the lay of the land as it is today and not as it may have been when our forebears walked the highways and byways of the area that we are investigating. Many places have seen significant changes over the years with modern redevelopments replacing previous settlements or roads that had first been laid out in medieval times.


A useful set of maps for investigation where an early Victorian era English or Welsh ancestor may have lived are the Tithe Maps. The Tithe Survey which was responsible for the creation of the Tithe Maps was as a result of  the Tithe Commutation Act 1836 and covered a large part of the country that was still subject to tithes and had not been enclosed. These maps and their accompanying apportionment books can be used to discover where people were living and who their neighbours were in the period of the survey from 1836 to the 1850s. Three sets were made of each area, one for the parish, one for the diocese and one for the Tithe Commissioners in London. This last set is in the safekeeping of The National Archives at Kew and have been digitised and put online by commercial family history website TheGenealogist. The parish and diocese maps are likely to be at the diocesan archive which may not necessarily be the county record office for the town/area that you are researching as some ecclesiastical dioceses' boundaries included parts of neighbouring counties. Tithe maps include both owners and occupier’s names and so are useful for family historians  delving into their family history. The maps can often show details such as boundaries, roads, waterways, buildings and woodlands. Sometimes these Victorian era maps show other details such as hedges, field names, mines and factories.


What maps can I use to research my ancestors’ stories?


There have been many maps drawn up over time. Some of these maps are more useful to us than others for researching our family history, although there can be occasions we need to consult a more specialist map such as when doing a house history. A list of maps that a family, social or house historian could use can be seen at https://www.map-explorer.co.uk/

Many of these maps can be found in the local County Record Office though quite a few, but not all, are becoming available on the internet. 


One of the most useful tools for family, social and house historians is the powerful online Map Explorer™ that is accessed on the subscription website TheGenealogist. Boasting a number of georeferenced historic as well as modern maps this resource allows its users to see the plots relating to historical records, such as the Tithe Survey and then fade between the different map layers. Because the historic and modern maps are matched to the same coordinates the researcher can view where an ancestor may have once occupied a small cottage and garden, or even a large estate with many fields, woods and so on. Once found it is then easy to use this tool to see what is there today. As urban boundaries have encroached the countryside it is sometimes fascinating to see how rural what we now see as city suburbs was in our ancestors’ time. 


Map Explorer™ with its georeferenced historical and modern maps includes not only Tithe Records and Maps to look for your Victorian ancestors’ homes, but also Inland Revenue Valuation Office (Lloyd George Domesday Survey) Records and Maps for nearly one million individuals. Other useful record set layers include Census records, Headstones and War memorials and the mapping interface now also allows users the ability to also see what their ancestors’ towns and areas in the U.K. had once looked like as it now includes historical pictures. This sees the addition of period photographs of street scenes and parish churches where researchers' ancestors may have been baptised, married and buried, added to the maps as a recordset layer. The various images for an area have their locations pinpointed on the maps, allowing family historians to explore their ancestors’ hometowns and other landmarks from around their area.


Important repositories of maps include:

The National Archives

Ruskin Avenue,



Surrey TW9 4DU https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk


British Library at St. Pancras

96 Euston Road,

London NW1 2DB https://www.bl.uk/


Bodleian Library

Broad Street,

Oxford OX1 3BG https://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/



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The Family History Show, London declared a success at Kempton Park

The Family History Show, London that took place at Kempton Park Racecourse on Saturday 24th September 2022 was a resounding success. The show, organised by Discover Your Ancestors Magazine went down extremely well in its new venue. 



Visitors flocked to the free talks in the large lecture theatres and had the rare chance of asking the experts for help in a one-to-one session to break down the brickwalls in their research.



“I do like the venue, it's really easy to get to from the station, I came on public transport and it was easy; I just got off at the station, walked down and there it is!” 

– Elsa Churchill from the Society of Genealogists


Steve, who attended with his wife, emailed “Just wanted to say thank you for the excellent event you laid on this weekend. First time my wife and I have been and we really enjoyed it… We loved the day and look forward to returning again soon!”


Another visitor to the show said:

“I just felt that the location is brilliant. I love the light and the airiness of the venue. I think the venue is super, you should come here again… I'll definitely come again if you hold it here.”


Exhibitors comments were also positive about The Family History Show and its venue:


“Terrific location, well signposted off the main roads and motorways…the catering was excellent with efficient staff, with good food and drink” – This Way Books


“It’s been really interesting coming back again and just seeing the family history community coming together again…to promote what we do and just say how friendly, collaborative and helpful this community can be.”

 – Elsa Churchill from the Society of Genealogists


“Easy to get to, easy to park, easy to unload, good facilities, lovely food, plenty of loos, nice and airy with plenty of room to walk around in.” – The London Westminster & Middlesex Family History Society


The organisers of the Family History Show London were very happy with the way the event went and are bringing it back to Kempton next year on the 2nd September 2023. With the on-site railway station, plentiful parking, food court and the courteous and friendly venue staff this is set to become a regular for family historians in London and the South East.


See the video of The Family History Show, London 2022:



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Important London Resource Now Complete

NEWS – TheGenealogist has sent out this Press Release today:



This major milestone means that the whole Greater London Area is now searchable by name, address or location.

TheGenealogist has today confirmed that The Lloyd George Domesday Survey is now complete for all of the Greater London boroughs, as well as for North Buckinghamshire. 

Over 1.6 Million records are now searchable, with 118,437 records in this latest tranche. 


This is a key resource for those researching London in the Edwardian period.


This latest release completes the IR58 Valuation Record Offices records for London. You can now research into and discover detailed information on the houses your ancestors occupied in the capital between 1910 and 1915.



Mark Bayley, Head of Content for TheGenelaogist said: 

“This is great news for family historians, local historians and those researching house histories. These records are linked to our powerful Map Explorer interface so you can see your ancestor’s home pinned on a contemporary map and discover where they went to work, school, church or even find their local watering hole!”


You can find out more about these records at https://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/lloyd-george-domesday/ or come along to The Family History Show, London this Saturday (24th September), where both Mark Bayley and Nick Barratt the well known Researcher, Academic and TV presenter will be discussing the records amongst many others. You can buy tickets ahead of the day at a discounted price here: https://thefamilyhistoryshow.com/london/tickets/ 


The original IR58 records were collected by the Inland Revenue for their Valuation Office Survey, referred to as the Lloyd George Domesday Survey after the Liberal Chancellor of the Exchequer of the time. Safely stored at The National Archives they have been transcribed and digitised by TheGenealogist. The resulting crisp and clear page images of the field books, with details of the surveyors’ reports, are linked to zoomable large scale OS maps used at the time. Each plot on a road is identified on the map; this allows Diamond subscribers of TheGenealogist to find their ancestors’ house location in a street and then explore the neighbourhood.


Many of the field books in this collection are extremely detailed in the descriptions of the houses and will give the researcher a fascinating insight into the size and the state of repair of the property in which their ancestors had lived.


TheGenealogist now intends to extend this important dataset out into the rest of the country in future releases.


Read our article: Snapshot of Edwardian London revealed in Land Tax Records  https://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/featuredarticles/2022/snapshot-of-edwardian-london-revealed-in-land-tax-records-1616/ 

About TheGenealogist

TheGenealogist is an award-winning online family history website, who put a wealth of information at the fingertips of family historians. Their approach is to bring hard to use physical records to life online with easy to use interfaces such as their Tithe and newly released Lloyd George Domesday collections. 

TheGenealogist’s innovative SmartSearch technology links records together to help you find your ancestors more easily. TheGenealogist is one of the leading providers of online family history records. Along with the standard Birth, Marriage, Death and Census records, they also have significant collections of Parish and Nonconformist records, PCC Will Records, Irish Records, Military records, Occupations, Newspaper record collections amongst many others.

TheGenealogist uses the latest technology to help you bring your family history to life. Use TheGenealogist to find your ancestors today!

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The Family History Show is returning to London this Month!


News from The Family History Show:



Join us on Saturday 24th September 2022 at The Family History Show, London

The first London show in over two years is just weeks away! Many are looking forward to enjoying a great day out again, with the excitement of being able to listen to live talks and asking questions face-to-face to a range of experts and exhibitors. Following on from the success of the York show in June we are only too pleased to welcome everyone back on Saturday 24th September to The Family History Show at Kempton Park, London.


Help ensure the future of family history events like this by voting with your feet and joining us!



Packed with exhibitors attending from all over the UK, including family history societies and genealogy suppliers, this long-awaited chance to talk face-to-face with stall holders is a must for your diary. Watch a short video of our previous event here: https://youtu.be/5Fdd_69qzMI


This event is not just for those who have London Ancestors – these family history shows will appeal to all family historians. Everyone is very welcome and there will be much to see throughout the day. There is plenty of free parking, refreshments will be available all day, you can talk with experts who can help with your research queries and watch FREE talks from a selection of expert lecturers.


Interested in exhibiting? Contact us now as we only have a limited number of spaces left.


If you can’t make it to our London show, then why not put this date in your diary? The Family History Show Online will be returning on Saturday 18th February 2023.

Talks you can look forward to at the London show include:  

– I've got my Autosomal DNA results, What do I do next? - Debbie Kennett

– How to research the history of the houses where your ancestors lived - Nick Barrett

– Which website and why? - Jackie Depelle

– Search Techniques to find your missing ancestors - Mark Bayley

– New Hints and Tips 2022 - Keith Gregson

– Fleshing out the bones - Records that reveal your ancestors lives - Mark Bayley

Early-bird Ticket Offer

Get your tickets online now and save up to 50%

Buy two tickets for only £12, or single tickets for only £8 each. Tickets will be £12 on the door so make sure you book early!

You’ll also get a free goody bag on entry worth over £8.


Buy your tickets now at: https://thefamilyhistoryshow.com/london/tickets/






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TheGenealogist adds 100,000 new Headstone records


The International Headstone Collection at TheGenealogist has been boosted with 100,000 new records, bringing the total to nearly 400,000 records in the collection available for all Diamond subscribers of TheGenealogist to search. 


Included are some extremely interesting memorials that allow researchers to see details about ancestors that have been immortalised on gravestones. These inscriptions can provide the family historian with useful information about the deceased and their family as commemorated in various churches and cemeteries. 


The headstone records released cover various burial places and include, at Mells St Andrew, Somerset - Siegfried Sasson, Ronald Arbuthnot Knox a translater of the Bible and some members of the Bonham Carter family and the Asquith family.


In St Peter’s Churchyard, Bournemouth, is the grave of Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein. She was the widow of the Romantic Poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley, who was cremated in Italy – though some of his mortal remains are reputedly also interred in this grave having been buried along with their son Sir Percy Florence Shelley.


[Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the author of Frankenstein grave at St Peter’s Bournemouth]


The Headstones Collection is also a record layer on TheGenealogist’s powerful Map Explorer™ with its ability to look into the area surrounding the location of the churchyard or cemetery. With its different historical and modern georeferenced maps, the researcher can discover the area and see the neighbourhood’s streets where the deceased ancestor may have lived, worked and played.


The International Headstone Collection is an ongoing project where every stone photographed or transcribed earns volunteers credits, which they can spend on subscriptions at TheGenealogist.co.uk or products from GenealogySupplies.com. If you would like to join, you can find out more about the scheme at: https://ukindexer.co.uk/headstone/

Read TheGenealogist’s article: The horror author with the heart of a poet


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Interesting article in the August Discover Your Ancestors Magazine

Excellent articles for family and social historians to read in the Discover Your Ancestors, August 2022 issue (see https://discoveryourancestors.co.uk/):
– 'Stop me and buy one': Our love of ice-cool treats and desserts follows a tradition that spans continents and dates back millennia, as Jayne Shrimpton reveals
– Mistress of spin: Caroline Roope tells the remarkable story of pioneering cyclist – and self-promoter – Annie Londonderry
– Family maintenance: All over Britain, the Edwardian courts were busy trying to ensure that people faced up to their financial responsibilities, writes Nell Darby
– The last of the 39ers: Nick Thorne explores the story of the oldest surviving and longest serving British POW of WW2, Alfie Fripp
– Two centuries of history: Stephen Roberts discovers that Christchurch’s ‘Barrack Road’ is so named for a good reason
– History in the details: Materials – silk (part 3) by Jayne Shrimpton
Sign up today for only £24.99 and receive the following:
12 monthly issues of the Periodical
Access to 500,000,000 birth, marriage and death records
Free data: Titanic passenger list
Free ebook: Scotland; The Official Guide to Edinburgh Circa 1930
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TheGenealogist cuts the cost of pinpointing your ancestors


TheGenealogist has been praised for its innovative tools that allow you to discover exactly where your ancestors lived, using Map Explorer™. This innovative feature has now been added to Gold and Starter level subscriptions.


Home of Joseph Chamberlain (father of the WW2 prime minister) found on the 1891 census in Map Explorer™  

Census pins identify properties on Map Explorer™ 


Image Archive records located on Map Explorer™ 


From today, a significant number of databases including the 1891, 1901 and 1911 census, plus TheGenealogist’s Image Archive pictures and along with the Domesday Book 1086, are now available with pins on georeferenced maps in Map Explorer™. This makes  Starter & Gold Subscriptions powerful resources for researchers to see where their forebears lived, as well as to investigate the neighbourhood and surrounding area. Accessing Map Explorer™ on a mobile allows researchers to walk in the footsteps of ancestors and discover where homes, schools, places of work and other buildings may once have stood but have now disappeared. 


This interface will place a pin on the house using historical data to identify its location where possible or if not, the street or parish on an appropriate map of the area connected to the record. As this resource makes use of a number of historical and modern maps matching the same precise coordinates, Starter & Gold subscribers are in a much better position to see where their ancestors had once lived even if the area has now changed.


To find out what’s included in the discounted Starter and Gold subscriptions go to www.thegenealogist.co.uk/PRTGAUG22


To read about using the Census collection, Image Archive and Domesday Book 1086 linked to mapping for an area recently in the news see our article: Mapping the records from a PM’s house to the Conqueror’s Manor



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Over 109,000 Lewisham and Bromley Land Tax records released on TheGenealogist’s Map Explorer™


The Crystal Palace, Penge, in the Bromley Valuation Office records


More than 109,000 new IR58 Valuation Office land tax records for owners and occupiers have been added by TheGenealogist to its Lloyd George Domesday Survey records. 


Researchers can now discover all types of interesting details about the homes of their ancestors from the Lewisham and Bromley areas. Diamond subscribers of TheGenealogist can find what their forebears' property was like in the years before WWI using the scanned images of the field books. These documents reveal what the surveyor from the years between 1910 and 1915 recorded about the size, state of repair and value of the house.


Detail from a Field Book from Lewisham Valuation Office area


As all the records are linked to the large scale Ordnance Survey maps that were used at the time, each property is shown plotted on detailed mapping on TheGenealogist’s Map Explorer™. This exceptionally useful tool, with its ability to show the same point on a variety of modern and historical maps, allows the house or family historian to see how the area may have changed over time and to explore their ancestors' locality.


In the case of this release we can see how in Bromley the Crystal Palace was still standing in fine parkland with fountains and other features. The Palace, having burnt down in the 1930s, its footprint is today given over to trees and grass on the modern map views. Across the road from its entrance had been a railway station in 1910 which today has subsequently been completely built over with new homes.

Lloyd George Domesday Survey linked map on Map Explorer™ 

  • TheGenealogist’s Lloyd George Domesday records link individual properties to extremely detailed maps used in 1910-1915 viewed on the powerful Map Explorer™ 
  • Fully search the records by person’s name, county, parish and street
  • Maps zoom down to show individual properties where they were plotted in the 1910s
  • Georeferenced to a modern street map or satellite map underlay to more clearly understand what the area looks like today

Total number of Owners and Occupiers in the current release: 109,177


Areas covered in Lewisham (63,451 Owners and Occupiers): Blackheath, Brockley, Catford, Deptford North, Deptford South, Forest Hill, Hatcham, Lee, Lewisham, Lower Sydenham and Upper Sydenham.


Areas released for Bromley (45,726 Owners and Occupiers): Beckenham, Bromley, Chelsfield, Chislehurst, Mottingham, Orpington, Penge, St Mary Cray

Read TheGenealogist’s article: From a Crystal Palace to the home of a Lord Mayor embroiled in scandal https://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/featuredarticles/2022/from-a-crystal-palace-to-the-home-of-a-lord-mayor-embroiled-in-scandal-1593/ 

About TheGenealogist

TheGenealogist is an award-winning online family history website, who put a wealth of information at the fingertips of family historians. Their approach is to bring hard to use physical records to life online with easy to use interfaces such as their Tithe and newly released Lloyd George Domesday collections. 

TheGenealogist’s innovative SmartSearch technology links records together to help you find your ancestors more easily. TheGenealogist is one of the leading providers of online family history records. Along with the standard Birth, Marriage, Death and Census records, they also have significant collections of Parish and Nonconformist records, PCC Will Records, Irish Records, Military records, Occupations, Newspaper record collections amongst many others.

TheGenealogist uses the latest technology to help you bring your family history to life. Use TheGenealogist to find your ancestors today!

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Society of Genealogists' Talk on Customs and Excise Officers and more!

The Society of Genealogists' next talk event is on Thursday 4 August at 2 pm:

Customs and Excise, Coastguards & Trinity House Records in the SoG Collections

Join Else Churchill to learn about the unique and original 19th and early 20th century records held at the Society of Genealogists on Customs and Excise staff. Have a Customs and Excise officer in your family tree? Then this talk will be very useful to you.

Deposited with the Society by HM Revenue and Customs, this collection holds approximately 16,800 entries. It contains details of HM Customs and Excise staff born between 1833 and 1911, now available on the SoG website.

The Society’s Coastguards’ Index was collated by the late Eileen Stage and recorded on index cards along with copies of various documents. The information was gathered from a number of sources including work done by a team of Society volunteers. In more recent times, these index cards and documents have been scanned and indexed to allow easy access via SoG Data Online.

Else also looks at the Society's Trinity House Petitions collections (1787-1854). These records detail petitions to Trinity House made by seamen, or their families, who had fallen on hard times. Trinity House was responsible for supervising lighthouses and buoys around the English coast. In addition, they distributed charitable funds to those of the seafaring community in greatest need. Records can contain detailed information about the petitioner and family survivors.

A one-hour talk with Else Churchill, cost £10.00/£6.50 SoG members



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TheGenealogist completes linking English Tithe Maps to Map Explorer™

All English Tithe Maps are now georeferenced to modern and historic maps

Family historians can now search the complete National Tithe Record Collection for England and view their ancestors’ land and homes plotted through the ages on Victorian Tithe maps, as well as on today's Modern Street and Satellite maps. 


TheGenealogist’s powerful Map Explorer™, which has seen a number of records added in recent months, will now also benefit from the inclusion of Tithe Maps and Records for five extra counties of England. With Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Herefordshire, Nottinghamshire and Sussex joining those that had previously been released means that TheGenealogist now has all of the English counties’ Tithe Records and Maps available to its Diamond subscribers on Map Explorer™. 


Map Explorer™ georeferences a Tithe Plot to various historical and modern maps


Tithe records cover the majority of the country and were created by the 1836 Tithe Commutation Act which required tithes in kind to be converted to monetary payments called tithe rentcharge. The Tithe Survey was established to find out which areas were subject to tithes, who owned them, who occupied the various parcels of land, the usage of the land, how much was payable and to whom and so generated these maps and apportionment books.


With Map Explorer™ researchers have the ability to pinpoint a record to the exact same coordinates on various historical and modern maps. Family and house historians are therefore able to see where an ancestor’s land plot was throughout the eras, even when the landscape has completely changed over the years.

  • Total number of maps in this release is 1,310
  • Total pins on georeferenced plots added in this release is 673,352
  • Map Explorer™ now has a total number of 11,804 georeferenced Tithe maps to view
  • 5,202,983 georeferenced parcels of tithable land are now on Map Explorer™, indicated by map pins

Tithes usefully record all levels of society from large estate owners to occupiers of small plots, such as a homestead or similar, as we discover in this weeks’ case study. 


See TheGenealogist’s article: Plotting A Victorian Farmer’s Home Over Time


Find out more at TheGenealogist.co.uk/maps/

About TheGenealogist

TheGenealogist is an award-winning online family history website, who put a wealth of information at the fingertips of family historians. Their approach is to bring hard to use physical records to life online with easy to use interfaces such as their Tithe and newly released Lloyd George Domesday collections. 

TheGenealogist’s innovative SmartSearch technology links records together to help you find your ancestors more easily. TheGenealogist is one of the leading providers of online family history records. Along with the standard Birth, Marriage, Death and Census records, they also have significant collections of Parish and Nonconformist records, PCC Will Records, Irish Records, Military records, Occupations, Newspaper record collections amongst many others.

TheGenealogist uses the latest technology to help you bring your family history to life. Use TheGenealogist to find your ancestors today!

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