Sep 022012
Continuing with Alona’s Family History through the Alphabet theme.

We were always told in maths class that maths is constant and that numbers don’t change. 

But is this really true? 
House numbers are common now in most urban places, however you don’t have to go too far back, to find that many houses were known by house name rather than by number. 

The house that my Grandmother bought from her husband William’s uncle, Edward Courtenay, was called “Loretta”.  Mail would be addressed to Loretta and the street name rather than to a number. In the old directories you will see houses listed as first on the right from Ann Street.

When the home was sold we retrieved this name plate and is one of the treasures we have at home.

Today in most areas of Australia and England if the houses do have a house number they will be numbered even numbers one side of the road and odd on the other.

This is not always the case, as the house numbering was done by the developer, not by the Council or  Post Office. In Oxford a number of streets particularly crescents  were numbered consecutively starting at one end of the street down one side then coming back and then finishing at the end of the street. 
And I have also seen this today in Australia particularly when houses are only on one side of the street such as Tallon Street, Sadliers Crossing, a suburb or Ipswich.

You may also find that a house may change it’s number over time. 

My grandmother’s home ‘Loretta’ on the corner of Ann and James Street, Fortitude Valley was numbered as 1 which made perfect sense as it was the first house on the street. 

The below images are from a number of directories and electoral rolls I have purchased over the years from Gould Genealogy . Without them I would never have been able to do as much research as I have whilst still working full-time and also studying. For some strange reason libraries don’t want to open their rooms at 1.00am which is when i have done a lot of my research over the years. One advantage of working was that I could afford to buy some great resources even though the disadvantage was that I couldn’t get to as many libraries as I wished.

Anyway back to the evolution of Loretta’s house number.

1936 Electoral Roll

1939 Electoral Roll

I love electoral rolls as you can see as a family ages and are now eligible to vote.

In 1949 Myrtle and William bought the home and they and their 9 year old daughter Violet left Myrtle’s Mother’s home in Red Hill to move to their new family home.

1949 Electoral Roll
1958 Electoral Roll

However suddenly the council decided in the early 1960s that the number should be changed to 9 James street. Remember this is the first house on the right as you walk from the Ann St-James St corner walking down James Street.  

The first Myrtle and William knew of the change was when they received a rates notice. On querying it they were told “that is what it now is” 

1963 Electoral Roll

So numbers do not always stay the same!

It is something to consider in your own research that numbers can change as can the name of the suburb,  state, county even country over time.

What examples of this have you found in your research?

  9 Responses to “N is for Numbers”

  1. Though I have noticed many changes of numbers or descriptions in the electoral rolls and gazettes, right now I have none to hand.

    What I do recall though is the name of the house I grew up in, a small place called 'Lochend' quite fitting for a house beside a lake. We also have a house name from my husband's family "Col-oan" the names were Colin and Joan.

    I always loved the names on houses, many with a typical Australian sense of humour, probably one of he most common is Thistledo… personally, I like another which is often seen as well… simply Rose Cottage…

  2. I love the idea of the house name made from the two names. House names can be so evocative of another age. It would be nice to see more of them.

    Number and geographic name changes over time can be really interesting. I have a friend whose family is from the area on the French-German border and over four hundred years the family were citizens of four or maybe five countries all without leaving their village.

  3. How nice to have that name plate! I don't have any interesting examples about house numbers, but house *names* have been important in my research. The Queensland death certificate for my great-grandfather, George HUDSON, said he was born in Barton, Yorkshire… and Yorkshire has lots of places called Barton! The breakthrough came when I found that one of the family here named their house 'Barton-le-Willows'. Census and parish records soon confirmed that the family did indeed come from that village in North Yorkshire.

  4. A pertinent caution for all of us Helen. Like you I used electoral rolls till they squeaked! They offer so much information. I can identify with the time:$ conundrum….sounds like my life for a lot of years though perhaps not researching at 1am:-)

  5. The clues our ancestors can leave for us are wonderful even though it can take us a while to see them for what they are. I think George was trying to help you find him.

  6. I must admit Pauleen, researching at 1am was not by choice but working full-time and doing my degree part-time meant that was the only time I had free. For me, doing family history research relaxed me enough to allow me to sleep although the excitment of finding people and information sometimes meant only a few hours sleep!

  7. Thanks Helen, this post really resonates with me. When my marriage ended, over 25 years ago, our family home was sold and I was purchasing a safe haven for my children and I, that no-one could take from us … the name of the street, the house number and the design of the home made it the perfect choice.
    I named it the "Nashwauk", after the ship my Irish GGGrandmother travelled on from Ireland. A brave and courageous young woman whom I've always felt has been "the wind beneath my wings".
    A dear friend gifted me a "nameplate" which has had pride of place before the front door. However, it's soon time for me to move house and have now realised that I MUST take the "Nashwauk" nameplate with me.
    Thanks again, Catherine

  8. Thanks Catherine. I really like the continuity in your family of the ship's name being a part of your past and into the future. I know you will have told your children of the significance of the name.

    It is my regret that we don't know who or what Loretta was.

  9. I was reminded recently about the housename of my parent's house "Springvale" – might have to do a post on it sometimes. And they still have part of the wood engraving with the name of the original owners.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: