Welcome to the world of one-place studies! Twenty-six of our members are sharing something in their particular place for this year's A-Z Blogging Challenge. Let Lewis Buckingham take you creeping around Hethersett with a tale that will feel very familiar to other one-place studiers!
I’d like to talk about the Creep in my place.
When I say creep, I’m not talking about some bloke who wanders the streets with mirrors stuck to the toes of his boots. It’s something a lot closer to what’s happened to my belly now that I’ve settled into middle age. I never set out to do a One-Place Study and I don’t think I’m alone in that. I was blithely working away at my family history when I found myself stuck knee deep in a One-Place Study.
My grandfather was born in 1916 in Honeysuckle Cottage on a little street called Cann's Lane in Hethersett.
I wondered where Honeysuckle Cottage actually was.
"That shouldn’t be too hard," I thought.
That’s where the creep began. Every time I thought something along those lines, the creep grew just a little further.
The trusty 1911 census was only five years off grandad’s birth. Why not start there? A quick look, and there was no Honeysuckle Cottage on Cann's Lane.
My Great Grandmother was the District Nurse. Perhaps there was a record of where the Nurse lived? And there was - but it wasn’t on Cann's Lane. It was two streets away. My Great Great Grandfather had a general store across the road. Maybe that’s how my Great Grandparents met?
Come to think of it, we were closely related to a few families in town. Where did they live? I had the names of streets from the census, but which building on that street was an actual ancestral home?
I have recordings of that generation speaking about what happened at their grannie's house, but I’d really like to picture it.
Which front porch was Great Uncle Forester sitting on when my Great Grandfather pulled his tooth with pliers? For which staircase was the wardrobe sawn in half in order to make its way upstairs?
"I should make a map," I thought.
The census was every ten years, so I just had to tie the census to some maps and then hopskip backwards.
That shouldn’t be too hard.
There was a 1905 Ordnance Survey map used in 1910 for "Lloyd George's Domesday".
"That will work well with the 1911 census," I thought. "My family arrived in Hethersett some time between the 1841 and 1851 censuses. The 1846 Tithe map shows them very clearly. Maybe I can link that to 1851 and cover our time there from the beginning?"
Hethersett’s Poor Rates from 1838-1848 are online at FamilySearch. They don’t reach to 1851, but I was sure I could track them all back to 1841. They included the Area occupied, so I should be able to match them easily to the Tithe map. Then from the 1841 census I can link to 1851.
That shouldn’t be too hard.
Then the transcriptions began.
One day I stepped back and looked at the two maps for 1846 and 1905.
Wow, stuff sure does change over time.
There were a lot more houses in 1905 than 1846.
I had a bit of a "I’m not in Kansas anymore" moment. I realised I was firmly now in a Hethersett One Place Study.
"More detail," I thought. "That’s all I need."
With enough detail I’d be able to put each person in town into their exact homes, at any point that my sources covered. Then I’d know exactly where my family lived.
But most sources are lists, not locations.
First I'll need maps! I mean more maps.
Well, there’s an OS map for 1882, and an unpublished map of 1863 at the Record Office. Good, good.
I searched the Norfolk record Office Catalogue for Maps. There were plenty. Great! A lot of work to come, but it will be worth it.
Then I realised I had forgotten to search for Plans, surveys, Assessments and Terriers.
There were more than plenty.
"Oh, look at that. There’s a map showing the enclosure of 1800. How interesting. I bet there was little change in the village from the Middle Ages up until enclosure. An 1801 census for the heads of houses still exists for Hethersett. It would be silly to halt my research just before such a defining moment as Enclosure."
"I won’t go overboard, though. I’ll just research from 1800 until the Great War."
"That shouldn’t be too hard."
There are Overseers' Assessments from 1790-1833. They don’t show areas that can be matched to the size of fields, but I’m sure I can match them via the Assessment amount to the 1834 Survey which does include areas.
The 1834 Survey’s numbering system matches the 1846 Tithe map. That means I can link the Overseers’ Assessments directly to a map. Cool.
But what about the later half of the century?
That shouldn’t be too hard.
There are Land Tax Records from 1833 up to the 1940s at the Norfolk Record Office.
But I don’t want to be silly. I can’t transcribe all of them. That would be far too much work.
I’ll make life easier for myself:
1. I’ll get someone to photograph just those Tax Assessments that match the 1863 and and 1882 maps.
2. Then I can link people to places.
3. There aren’t any areas listed in the Assessments, but I can correlate the later Land Tax Assessment Valuations with those at FamilySearch for 1801-1832,
4. match them to the Overseer’s accounts,
5. which are already matched to the (putative) 1834 map
6. which is matched to the 1846 Tithe map,
7. which I can match via the 1838-1848 poor rates
8. to the 1841 census
After that it shouldn’t be too hard...
1. once I’ve developed a simple system of cross-referencing sources,
2. perhaps some form of GEDCOM for land use through time as opposed to family groups.
3. Then of course I can use Manorial records to fill in the gaps.
4. I’ll definitely need those records pre-1800 to show who is in each field not actually being enclosed on the Enclosure map.
5. The orthography’s a little tricky, but there are courses in Palaeography at the National Archives website. That will be fun.
6. Of course there’s some Latin, but...
Are you still there?
If so, you’re doing better than my wife.
So. Where was my grandfather born?
In Honeysuckle Cottage on a little street called Cann’s Lane in Hethersett.