Getting started with your local history research

Marine Library
Marine Library

Read up

It’s a good idea to read up about how to research local history before you start. You may find someone has already written about the places and people that interest you:

Research at home

Talk to your family, friends and neighbours – especially the oldest members. This will help you to trace the history of your town and the people, buildings and businesses in it back as far as you can.

Look at old family documents. Letters, diaries and photos are great sources of information about local life in the past and any major events.

Join a local history group

Whether you have a general interest in local history, or want to find out about a particular subject such as railways, you can get support and advice from local societies. A detailed list is available from East Sussex Community Information Service (ESCIS).

Research further

Street and trade directories, census returns, parish and electoral registers, maps and even postcards and photographs are some of the documents you can use to continue your local history research.

Many of these documents are available in our libraries and at the East Sussex Record Office. See our page about useful documents for local history research.