Where did they live, work and play?

The saying goes "everything happens somewhere" - add the dimension of time to that and we have a very interesting area of study. As far as previous generations of our families are concerned we can determine, discover and then better appreciate how they lived, worked and occasionally enjoyed their lives through the locations and places they visited. By visiting those places today it is often possible to better appreciate the lives of the people before you.

%Billerwell image missing%
01 June 2010: Billerwell Farm Cottages near Jedburgh - the home of Walter & Catherine Murray and their eight children in 1871 (including James Murray). In the adjacent cottage was Catherine's mother: Janet Dalgleish, another daughter and grandchild.

Family locations

While we are unable to meet our ancestors today we can often visit the homes and places where they lived worked and played perhaps 200 or more years ago. Some properties will have been demolished and others rebuilt - but many still stand even though they may have appeared much different in the past from their tidy and well maintained facade today.

Conventions used

In family research the location of a family home, event or public place can often be vague at the start. The country maybe known, or the town/place. Over time improved resolution maybe acquired eg to a house number, holiday accommodation or even a grave plot.

To support this the following referencing approach is used to identify locations [of family homes and other event]:


*for England Wales and Scotland the pre1974 counties are used to help provide a better spatial granularity.

The location pages follow the above referencing sequence.


The census is the most valuable immediate source of location information since it is recorded against an address. While this started in 1801 the records improve greatly from 1841 onwards. The most recent census release is the 1911 census.

Old maps, in particular old Ordnance Survey maps, provide the wider context of the place and locality of the dwellings where families made their homes. However these only start to be available from around 1850 (the 6inch map) and the late 19thC for the detailed 1:2,500 map.

Unhelpfully none of these maps show actual addresses the street name or farm names will provide a good starting location. The maps will also describe the surrounding environment - in urban areas at the turn of the 20th these may appear unmanaged and often desolate.

Period of research

Start: 18thC
End: Ongoing

Updated KJM 27 April 2014