Welcome to History House

History House is primarily about the county of Essex but there are many other interesting things on History House including tips, advice, and resources to help you research your ancestors; and interesting and unusual stories from British history.

5,260 pages on the website - and more to come.

Colchester Castle, Essex. 1892 (Neg. 31523)  © Copyright The Francis Frith Collection 2005. http://www.francisfrith.com
Colchester Castle 1892
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.

The history of Essex

Essex has a fascinating past: from the haunting scenery of the salt marshes to its fields and picturesque villages, and from the River Thames to Britian's first capital and oldest recorded town. Dip into the history of its towns, villages, parishes, and its people with History House.

Essex A to Z

great dunmow
Great Dunmow

Detailed information on each town and village in Essex is available through the A to Z directory in the navigation above.

Each location's page includes extracts from the 1848, 1863 and 1874 county directories which detail the history of the location and a list of the main inhabitants. A useful resource for tracking movements of your ancestors between the ten-yearly census.

Other useful information may include voters in elections, education and schooling, criminal cases, paupers and workhouses, and suggestions on other websites which may help you.

Articles on Essex History, Researching Your Ancestors, and British History

parish register

Parish Registers at the Essex Record Office.

Researching parish registers is the next step after the census and civil registration. Digital images of Essex parish registers are available online at the Essex Record Office. >>more

punch cartoon on the census

The Census 1841 - 1911.

A look at the census returns for England and Wales for the decades 1841 - 1911 and how they can help you research your family tree >>more

shire hall

Shire Hall, Chelmsford.

The story of the building of the Shire Hall, Chelmsford. Venue of criminal trials, and grand banquets and balls. Plus the story of a tragedy. >>more


What work did a Nightman carry out?.

A look at Victorian arrangements for disposing of human waste and the disgusting work carried out by Nightman. >>more

More articles on
Essex History
: stories about the people and places of Essex.
Your Ancestors: tips, advice, resources, and stories.
British History: Random collection of interesting and unusual stories from British history.

Books on Essex

Looking for books on Essex? Amazon.co.uk have a wide selection of books on Essex History, British History, Genealogy and researching the history of your house.

amazon logo

Alternatively, if you are seeking used, rare and out of print books then try Abebooks. They bring together 13,500 independent, professional booksellers from all around the world. Just click the logo.

Kelvedon Hatch, 1840 - 1920: A Guided Tour

Book cover: Kelvedon Hatch, 1840 - 1920

Go on a guided tour of Kelvedon Hatch, Essex, during the 19th and early 20th centuries. With the help of photographs, newspapers, parish records and census returns, the story of each house is revealed, as are the lives of some of their occupants. Available as a paperback or ebook

Law and Order

police officer

Essex Court Cases

Ongoing project to create a list of Essex court cases with the names of those involved. Information extracted from 19th century newspaper reports and gaol calendars. Also a guide on how to find information on your criminal ancestors in Essex. >> more.

Essex Police Records

Index to the names of Essex police officers from 1840 - 1910, and a guide on how to find more information on your police ancestors in Essex. >> more.

History News

Read the latest history news for Essex and UK, covering all aspects of history and resources to aid research.

History News lastest articles >>>

Find your Ancestors in the Newspapers

Essex Standard Newspaper

Newspaper archives are now a very important source of information for researching your family tree.

Try our example search to help you discover if your ancestors are in the British Newspaper Archive.

Help me find my ancestors

New on History House

  • 1895 Directory for locations Stanford Rivers to Writtle. A to Stanford-le-Hope remain to be done
  • 1805 Ordnance Survey map added to the home page for each Essex location.
  • Smash and Grab - When was the first Smash and Grab?


When researching for this website we often find a little snippet of information on a location or subject which may be of interest. Some are quirky, some show that there is nothing new in this world, and some about the attitudes and morals of the time. Here are some examples, or look at our index to snippets:

My Essex Ancestors

Tell the story of your Essex Ancestors

my ancestors logo

Are your ancestors from Essex? Why not tell us their story. Who were they? When were they here? What they did they do? Where did they go? Have you an interesting story to tell about them?

Go to our A to Z directory, click on the location where they lived and follow the My Ancestors link halfway down the page.

Documents on Essex Ancestors

part of old deed

All types of objects relating to family history are sold on Ebay. Photographs, copies of Wills, house conveyancing, bills of sale, and much, much more. See our article Essex Ancestors on eBay

Essex in 1722

Daniel Defoe's Essex Tour

Daniel Defoe
Daniel Defoe

In 1722, the now famous author, Daniel Defoe, set off of a tour of the eastern counties of England. His account of his journey provides not only a description and history of a some of the largest towns of Essex, but also provides lively insights into the economic and social activities of its inhabitants: oyster fishing, game shooting on the marshes; and the marrying habits of those living in the marsh areas. He also provides a compelling account of the siege of Colchester during the English Civil War. >> Tour through the Eastern Counties of England, 1722.

Pictures of Essex

Chelmsford, High Street 1892, Essex.  (Neg. 31508)  © Copyright The Francis Frith Collection 2005. http://www.francisfrith.com
Chelmsford, High Street 1892
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.

If you're looking for pictures to add to your family tree album, then ebay is a good source of old images of Essex towns and villages. Throughout this site you will find many examples of postcards you can find on Ebay, some orginals, others digitally restored and enhanced. To go straight to the ebay pages this link is formatted for Essex Postcards

Another source of pictures is the Media Store House on Amazon

Or try the Francis Frith Collection which contains over 100,000 historic photographs. Between 1860 and 1970 their photographers travelled all over Britain taking photographs of thousands of towns and villages. The collection contains thousands of photographs of Essex. The free preview images on their website are of fair quailty, but you have to pay for good quality versions.

As an alternative to obtaining them from Francis Frith, Ancestry.co.uk also offer access to the Francis Frith Collection as part of their Premium UK Membership. The image quality is very good and you do not have to pay for each individual image.