How can I find out if a street in Bloxwich has been named af­ter my fam­ily?

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - Q & A -

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.

David Stokes

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

find­my­past.co.uk).

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.

Jac­qui Kirk

Stokes Street in Bloxwich – reader David Stokes wants to know if it has any re­la­tion­ship with his lo­cal fam­ily con­nec­tions

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