Red tape and sealing wax? Using old title deeds for local and family history.

Have you discovered that one of your ancestors, or a house you are researching, features in a bundle of parchment title deeds? Are you feeling defeated by line after line of repetitive text reading ‘whereas’ this, ‘whereas’ that, ‘of the one part’, ‘of the other part’? Help is at hand!

This talk will show how most deeds fit into one of a few standard categories, and once you have understood how each type works, you can quickly jump to the key details to find out what they contribute to the story of a house or family.

This is an online talk using Zoom. Participants will be required to download and use Zoom.

Previous knowledge/experience required: All you need to attend a talk on Zoom is some basic computer skills and experience in using the internet. Don’t worry if you have not used it before as we will send you some basic guidance when you book.

You will receive an email confirming your booking from Hampshire Archives and Local Studies or Wessex Film and Sound Archive, which will contain the Zoom link.


Join us for this fantastic talk on Monday 16 August at 6pm. Tickets are just £5 and can be booked by clicking ‘Book Now’.

Books you can borrow…

Reserve the books today by clicking on the book cover:

Property title deeds are perhaps the most numerous sources of historical evidence but also one of the most neglected. While the information any one deed contains can often be reduced to a few lines, it can be of critical importance for family and local historians. Nat Alcock’s handbook aims to help the growing army of enthusiastic researchers to use the evidence of these documents, without burying them in legal technicalities. It also reveals how fascinating and rewarding they can be once their history, language and purpose are understood. A sequence of concise, accessible chapters explains why they are so useful, where they can be found and how the evidence they provide can be extracted and applied.

This publication is a practical guide combining genealogy with growing interest in tracing the history of your own house, buildings and community. It explains how to follow your own trail of discovery using a range of sources, starting with the building itself and progressing to who lived there.

Anyone who wants to find out about the history of their house needs to read this compact, practical handbook. Whether you live in a manor house or on a planned estate, in a labourer’s cottage, a tied house, a Victorian terrace, a 20th-century council house or a converted warehouse – this is the book for you. In a series of concise, information-filled chapters, Gill Blanchard shows you how to trace the history of your house or flat, how to gain an insight into the lives of the people who lived in it before you, and how to fit it into the wider history of your neighbourhood.

This guide will enable individuals to construct a history of their own house, a childhood home, or another property, and describes the many sources of information available to the house detective.

If we tried to sink the past beneath our feet, be sure the future would not stand.

– Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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