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Miscellaneous research resources

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  • Miscellaneous research resources

    This is just to note some online resources that people may find useful.

    First I'll carry over some that I put on the Casebook wiki a few years ago, minus the one that has disappeared.

    (1) Historical Streets Project
    (National Archives)

    Online collection of street indexes to the censuses of England and Wales for 1841-1871 and 1891. For some reason there is a separate page listing street indexes for 1881.

    (This is just an archived version now, as the National Archives abandoned the wiki-type project they had encouraged people to spend so much time developing.)

    (2) German Genealogy Group

    Database section includes indexes of births, marriages and deaths in New York City (and New York State). Also indexes of naturalisations in New York State. Nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

    (3) Fire insurance maps and plans (Goad Plans) (British Library)

    There used to be a way of finding a map for a particular location, but as far as I know it's no longer possible. But maybe someone knows of a way?

  • #2
    Following on from the hunt for Polly Nichols's Holborn Poor Law Union examination, which Ancestry had allocated to the modern borough of Camden (though if anything it should have gone to the borough of Merton, south of the river, as the register related mainly to Mitcham Workhouse).

    The boundaries of registration districts/poor law unions can be seen at:

    First search for a place, then on the page for the place click on "Units and Statistics" in the menu on the left. Then in the list on the right select the unit of interest, for example "PLU/RegD" and click on Boundary Map in the menu on the left.

    The boundaries are sometimes not in exactly the right place on the maps, but they give a pretty good idea of the area covered.


    • #3
      The other day I was looking at the Fenwick family, who had lived partly on the Isle of Dogs and partly on what was later the Aberfeldy Estate in Poplar. Both these places were in Poplar registration district, so it wasn't obvious from the indexes of civil birth registration which of their children were born in each place. I vaguely remembered that there was a way of distinguishing births in different sub-districts by looking at the page numbers. I had a look online then and found a description of the method that sounded horrendously difficult, so I didn't bother trying it then.

      But I just looked again and found a recipe that sounded more feasible. It's by mgnv on this page, and also includes some useful information about how the registers were compiled:

      I gave it a try as an exercise for one of the Fenwick births, and got the result I was expecting. The method isn't too laborious (if you are using a browser that enables you to search within a page, edit the search word and see the number of hits without having to click), but I found the results weren't as clear as they should be in theory. It's a question of using FreeBMD to look for pages that have less than 10 entries on them, which correspond to the end of a sub-district. But presumably because of indexing errors, the number is often not exactly 10, but a bit more or less. That can obscure the end of a sub-district, as I found when I tried it. And if the last page of a sub-district just happens to be complete, it can't be detected by this method anyway. I also found there were a few odd entries in a section of their own at the end, as well as the main sections for the sub-districts.

      But if the procedure doesn't produce clear results for the quarter you are interested in, it can be repeated for a different one - for example a year earlier or later - to give a pretty good idea of how the total page range divides between the sub-districts.

      I'll include a brief summary of the procedure here, in case anyone wants to try it:
      (1) Go to and click on the district you are interested in, then down the list to the year and quarter you want, and note the range of pages given.
      (2) Do a search at for all births in that district and quarter.
      (3) Use the browser to search within the page of results for each even page number in the range, and note the page numbers that produce less than 10 hits. Indexing errors may produce some that have only 9, but hopefully in most cases the pages you are looking for will have either no hits at all (when the sub-district ends on an odd-numbered page) or an unambiguously low number of hits. These pages should be the final pages of individual sub-districts.
      (4) Use the National Archives catalogue at to get a list of the sub-districts, by doing an advanced search with Word: [District name] and Reference: RG 12 [the 1891 census], then clicking on one of the results, then clicking on the option to browse by reference (going back a page or two to the start of that registration district if necessary). The order of the sub-districts in the census should apparently be the same as the order in the registers of births.

      Unfortunately doesn't have boundary maps of sub-districts as such, but for Poplar I found that selecting the registration district (RegD) and then the tab "Relationships and changes" brought up not only the sub-districts, but also various kinds of parishes with the same names, which did have boundary maps. Possibly there may be some divergences between the boundaries of sub-districts and parishes, though.


      • #4
        Some years ago, protohistorian on Casebook made available his photos of the street sections of the London Post Office Directory for 1888 (together with some extracts from 1889). He put them on a file-sharing site called Humyo, which is now defunct. I assume he'd want them still to be available to researchers, so I've placed my copies of the files in the resources section of this site. The maps from the 1888 Directory are also included:


        • #5
          The Police Index was a large collection of references to police officers collected by Derek Wilcox. He made an index containing brief details available online, and supplied copies of source material on request. Unfortunately the index is no longer operating, but there is an archived copy of the index - giving names, ranks, forces, dates and a very brief indication of the nature of the information - which may still be of some use even though fuller details would have to be searched for (I haven't checked all the pages have been archived, but all the ones I've tried are there):