~ History ~
Sources of information used for local history research.
Whereas living memory can be a great source of material stretching back eighty or more years, however before that, published and other documented material that relates to the local interest has to be relied upon.
A couple of pages are dedicated here to the sources used to accumulate much of the content on this website, this is mainly restricted to material particular to the greater Gornal area.
UK Census
Foremost must be the Census records taken every decade since 1841, the Census records in varying detail all the residents of the country at the time of the Census
Due to privacy, Census records are only published after 100 years, thus at this time, records are only available up to 1911 although we should see the release of the 1921 Census shortly.
In addition to this, a register of the population was taken in 1939, and does include some details of householders.
Census enumeration districts.
In addition to the individuals and households, there is an interesting insight into the enumerators detailed schedule to which he is required to visit the households in the areas described, these are transcribed on this site.
Most of the Census enumerations have now been transcribed.
See Census enumeration districts.
Electoral registers are also available, however these only list the principal occupier of each household.
Trade Directories; the Kelly's Directory of Staffordshire in particular, published at regular intervals since 1895 and has been a huge source of information on local businesses and dignitaries.
A few earlier 19th Century directories are also available, but usually with less detail and coverage.
There are also many websites dedicated particularly to family research such as 'Ancestry', most require a paid subscription to access fully the records they hold, which apart from Census and Church records, have access to emigration, immigration, military and other published material.
1879 on.
Old newspapers; local, national and even from the international press provide many fascinating stories about the area in the past.
Contemporary newspaper snippets are extensively used throughout this site, sale advertisments, crime, stories and lots of other useful information.
Most of the press related content has been transcribed and displayed as close as possible to the original, as the originals are not always printed clear enough for easy reading.
Local published material used includes local church magazines and Sedgley UDC Annual Reports and much other incidental material.
Of course many books have been published that deal with the area, I tend to use these for cross-reference as I like to do my own research.
For further reading, a list of books specific to the Gornals, are included in the Bibliography section.
Photographs and other images are also used wherever possible, these are always popular and part of a large collection of local photographs from more recent times. Some photographic image usage is often restricted by copywrite or licence fees.
In the main, I like to obtain permission to use any images or material used on the website, full credit is always given where requested or appropriate.
In many cases, it is not been possible to track down the original holders, and much material held has not been added to the site at this time, although it is widely published elsewhere.
In a few instances I have included material which I hope will not offend, where it has not been possible to contact the owner.
Some visitors have also kindly allowed their personal photographs and recollections to be used.
The website also possesses a large collection of local postcards many of which are included on the site and are images out of copywrite, Many of these old postcards were produced by the Bilston printers 'John Price & Sons'. They produced a huge range of postcards of Black Country scenes during the period 1904 to 1935.
All other material is original or part of a collection accumulated by the website over the years.
Since 1886, Ordnance Survey have produced with detailed large scale 'six-inch' maps of Staffordshire. which are a tremendous help in locating various features and landmarks.
These maps have been revised over the years to provide a view of the changing landscape.
The original survey was 1861-1888, with revisions, 1897-1902, 1912-1923, 1937-1938.

The 1844 Staffordshire Tithe Survey Map is also a detailed look at the local area before that time.