Tag Archives: google street view

It is amazing what you can find with Google Street View

27 Sep

I was lying in bed yesterday morning reading the latest edition of Picture Postcard Monthly pondering their Picture Postcard Puzzles section, which features postcards with views whose location is unknown. I was thinking that it must be a lot easier to identify postcards now with the advent of Google Street View.

It was then that I cast my mind back to one family postcard in particular (shown below) which has been a bit of a mystery. The postcard shows a woman standing outside a quite distinctive small building. The quality of the postcard is not good enough to see any facial features, but I felt that if I could identify the building that would be a good start.

The Lodge, Ord House, Ord, Northumberland

Although this came from the TROWER side of my family tree the location didn’t look like anywhere in Sussex, certainly not one of the two main TROWER homes of Henfield or Sayers Common.

It is not clear what the building is, it looks a bit like a chapel perhaps, or some sort of community building like a village hall. It seems to be a little small for a house, but it is not easy to see how far back the building goes. One important feature is the material that the building is made of, it is almost certainly stone, rather than the more traditional Sussex building materials of flint or brick.

As I lay in bed pondering the image it struck me that there was one branch that I hadn’t previously considered, not actually a TROWER family but the family of Fanny FAIRS the sister of my 2x great-grandmother Annie TROWER (née FAIRS). She married Thomas Arthur BARRY in Henfield, Sussex in November 1894, but they lived in Northumberland at The Lodge, Ord House, Ord (Thomas was a coachman, presumably for whoever was living at Ord House).

I didn’t actually leap out of bed, but when I fired up my computer later in the morning I headed to Google Maps and searched for Ord House. Once the little orange Street View man hit the street I was convinced that this was the right place, because there was a nice long stone wall and stone buildings all over the place.

It took a couple of minutes exploring to find the building, unfortunately the Google Street View car didn’t drive right past the building, but close enough for me positively identify it.

I had a quick check on old-maps.co.uk and this building was identified as “Lodge”, confirming that this was the house of Thomas and Fanny BARRY, and that the woman is probably my 3x great-aunt.

It is a great feeling when you can put a name to a photo or postcard (I can’t be definite about the person, but I can about the place) and a really great way to start a Sunday morning!

See Sussex on Google Street View

11 Mar

At long last Google Street View images of Sussex along with most of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have finally arrived on Google Maps.

I saw the Google car several times last year in the town of Horsham, Sussex (where I was working at the time) and read reports that it had been in Brighton as well.

What I didn’t expect was that Google have covered most of rural Sussex (and the rest of the country) as well, including the small village where I live and of course many of the villages where my ancestors lived.

I’ve had a quick look around the county, visiting Henfield, Brighton, Horsham and Sayers Common. I could easily spend hours on there looking at my ancestors homes, retracing some of my walks, or just looking for people doing stupid things!

So get out there (or rather stay in) and start exploring the highways and byways of Sussex.

More KINGHORN research and Google Street View

19 Mar

I discovered another little piece of the puzzle relating to my 3x great grandfather Thomas KINGHORN. I was able to identify the location of an address in Westminster, London where the family were living when his first wife Alicia (nee DALTON) died in 1846.

The address given was 5 George Place, and from the burial record I knew that George Place was in Cross Street, but I couldn’t find Cross Street on any modern maps. The answer was in The Survey of London available on Britsh History Online which revealed that “In 1886 Cross Street, Cross Court and South Row, extending from Kingly to Marshall Street, were renamed Ganton Street.”

I had no trouble finding Ganton Street on Google Maps and with a click of a button I was standing in Kingly Street looking down the narrow road that Thomas KINGHORN once lived in! I hadn’t realised that Google Street View had only just gone live in the UK.

I will of course be making a visit to Westminster at a future date to get some photos, but Google Street View is a genealogists dream, especially if you are unlikely to ever be able to visit your ancestral home town in person.

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