How can I find out if a street in Bloxwich has been named after my family?
QAround 1800, my father’s family was based in Bloxwich in the West Midlands. Charles Stokes (1806–1863) was a whitesmith. There was at least one other Stokes family, possibly related to mine, in Bloxwich. By 1841, Charles had moved his family to Walsall.
There is a Stokes Street in Bloxwich, and a Stokes Bridge on the nearby Wyrley and Essington Canal (built 1792–1797). This makes me wonder whether there are any sources for discovering the origins of local street names and other features. I have no evidence that any member of the family was a prominent local figure.
A Living memory is your first source. Contact local or family history societies (such as the Walsall Family History Group at wfhg.co.uk) to harness members’ local knowledge, write to a local newspaper to ask for information, then trawl through books on Bloxwich and Walsall in the Local Studies section of Walsall Central Library (love libraries walsall. co.uk) or Walsall Local History Centre ( go.walsall.gov.uk/ local history centre ).
Identify a timeframe in which the street and bridge name appear. Stokes Street seems to be mainly 1930s houses, and is included in the 1939 National Register (use the address search on
The street may be mentioned in council minutes, particularly if it was renamed, and where statutory notifications were placed in the press. Electoral rolls and street directories should help you narrow down the years to be searched.
The origin of Stokes Bridge may be its proximity to physical features such as factories, fields or farms. In The National Archives’ Discovery catalogue ( discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk) I found a Leamer colliery, owned by Stokes, Foster and Stokes, which may be worth investigating. Local farm or field names appear in tithe, enclosure, canal and Ordnance Survey maps and schedules – and check there for landowner names too.
Stokes Street in Bloxwich – reader David Stokes wants to know if it has any relationship with his local family connections