Welcome, fellow genealogists! My blog will teach you about U.S. land records and United Kingdom research. My family has roots in Niagara County, New York; Norfolk, England; and northeast Germany.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wisdom Wednesday: Websites for Village Histories

Finding the village or city name for your ancestors is critical to UK research. Once you have the place name, you can look at historical maps for research and contemporary maps for travel. Two of the more obvious places are www.maps.google.com and www.maps.familysearch.org. The latter covers England only and was described in an earlier post.  www.genuki.org.uk has maps of the UK with links to county pages that have further links to maps and other information.

Recently, I found www.visionofbritain.org.uk, a free site, with information from the Imperial Gazetteer containing maps and short histories of places in England.  On the site’s home page, there is a box labeled “Find A Place” in the upper left corner.  Enter the name of the village or its post code, and click the ‘search’ button. You will now have a historical map and the description from the Imperial Gazetteer.  I tried Swaffham, Norfolk and Milton Keynes, Bucks with good results.
Wilson, John Marius. Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales. Edinburgh: A Fullarton & Co., 1870-72.

There is a list on the left side of the screen with ‘Location’ highlighted and five more choices for you to explore about this village – Historical Places and Writing; Historical Photographs; Units and Statistics; Related Websites; and Place Names. When I clicked on ‘Related Websites’, I found a link to Victoria County History, an encyclopedia of county histories begun in 1899 and dedicated to Queen Victoria. ”It records England's places and people from earliest times to the present day. Based at the University of London since 1932, the VCH is written by historians working in counties across England.” From the Milton Keynes search results, a click on the VCH link will take you to a site titled ‘British History Online’:
'Parishes : Milton Keynes', A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 4 (1927), pp. 401-405. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=62605 (This site will take a whole post to describe. Stay tuned.)
©2012, Susan Lewis Well


  1. Thank you for this post some great information for researchers who live out side of UK. I am looking forward to checking out these links today.

  2. Thank you so much for providing these resources! I was able to do some research and found the baptism record in an index online for Wolverhampton, for my great grandfather who came to the US in the 1860's. Now I can send away for the actual record. Thanks again!!