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Domesday book now available to the public online

As of yesterday, an online database is now accessible to the public on the PASE (Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England) website, which let’s people search for towns and villages to see who owned their land between 1066 and 1086.

Done on the orders of William the Conqueror, the Domesday book was a survey of land-owners taken in England after Norman conquest. It was the biggest survey of its kind in Medieval history and the most comprehensive of any pre-industrial society in the world.

The survey acquired an awesome reputation. ‘Domesday’ translates to ‘Doomsday’, as it was thought to evoke the day of judgement – christened as such my the English.

This could be a great resource for genealogists as you can easily trace the history of any English village or piece of land and see, for the first time, who owned what.

To use the Domesday book visit the PASE website and enter a town or village into the search field. If any records come up, you will see a table showing who owned the land. You can also generate maps of land-owners, allowing you to visualise who owned what, and even see how land was redistributed among the invaders.

If you find your estate listed in the Domesday book, you can visit the National Archives website and download an image of your page from the actual Domesday book.

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