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Some Tips For Getting Started

This article is the second in our help articles for the History project with some pointers to get you started on your search. .

The Bedford Park House History project is going to be a combination of individual work by householders, with some central work by the team and any volunteers that would like to join.  We are co-ordinating a group of locals to look at some of the bigger, more comprehensive sources of information (such as the 1911 Census data). The information we find from these sources will be shared out to the relevant households and streets.

In the meantime there are lots of things you can do to get started!


WhatYouHaveGotDocsGather What You Have

It may seem obvious but the first port of call may be the loft or the office. This will allow you to gather together everything you already have. This could be the original documents that you were given when you bought the property, or old photos and documents accumulated since you arrived.  If you have lots of paper documents and don't know how to 'digitise' them to use on the web don't worry!  We will be arranging some days in Bedford Park when you can bring your documents and pictures in and we will have volunteers with the equipment to do this for you.  You can then share any useful info with other participants if it is relevant.



BuildingDateFind Out When Your Home Was Built

This is a really useful piece of information to start out with and there may be obvious clues to guide your research. If you don't have your Deeds (see below) then you can look for clues.  Older properties may have an 'Erected' date carved into the fa├žade or created in ornate brickwork. If the the date isn't written on the building anywhere and you don't have the original deeds we will be able to find the clues centrally?  



Speak To The Neighbours

Once again, it may seem obvious, but there may be a few neighbours sitting on documents, photos or letters etc that may have a bearing on your home.  It would be great to speak to the neighbours and even convince them to do this as a joint effort! Also, don't forget to introduce them to the BP Histories team.  We would welcome introductions to any locals that you may think have lots of hidden information about Bedford Park.


HistoryDeedsProperty Deeds                             

You may be fortunate to hold the original deeds for your property, and these will give you valuable details about former owners. However, finding historic deeds is becoming rarer as they are no longer legally required so many have been destroyed. 

The title deeds to your home should include names of vendors and sellers, a description of the property, and amounts of money used in transfer of ownership. They may be used to trace the owners of land on which the house was built. These deeds may be held by the solicitor, bank or building society involved in the sale and purchase of your house. If you are lucky they may be lodged with the Land Registry. 

There is a helpful Land Registry discussion about deeds here:



ChiswickLibraryVisit The Library

An old fashioned, but surprisingly helpful thing to do.  In Chiswick we are lucky to have a great archive held at Chiswick Library in Dukes Avenue, W4.  We have visited the library and explained the background to the project and library staff have been very helpful!.  We would recommend that you call or email beforehand to let them know you are coming and to arrange help in navigating the services. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  And don't forget to share any fun things you find with everyone else on the project.




Census Returns

A quick way to try out an online search is with the 1911 Census.  We will be searching this centrally but this doesn't mean you can't investigate it yourself.  The records show the name, age, place of birth, marital status and occupation of every resident in every home, as well as their relationship to the head of the household. You can find it (using a 14 day free trial) at a specialist site here


Next you may want to have a look at our list of useful sites that we have put together to aid your search. You can find it here: