- source: Family History Library Catalog
- the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia
Bilston is now a town in the English county of West Midlands, situated in the southeastern corner of the City of Wolverhampton. Historically in Staffordshire, three wards of Wolverhampton City Council cover the town: Bilston East and Bilston North, which almost entirely comprise parts of the historic Borough of Bilston, and Ettingshall which comprises a part of Bilston and parts of Wolverhampton.
Bilston Urban District Council was formed in 1894 under the Local Government Act 1894 covering the ancient parish of Bilston. The urban district was granted a Royal Charter in 1933, becoming a municipal borough.
In 1966 the Borough of Bilston was abolished, with most of its territory incorporated into the County Borough of Wolverhampton, although parts of Bradley (near Sedgley) in the east of the town were merged into Walsall borough.
Few towns were more dramatically transformed during the Industrial Revolution as Bilston was. In 1800, it was still a largely rural area dependent on farming. By 1900, it was a busy town with numerous factories and coalmines, as well as a large number of houses that had been built to house the workers and their families.
With the opening of the Birmingham Canal to the west of the town in 1770, industrial activity in the local area increased, with the first blast furnaces near the canal at Spring Vale being erected by 1780. Six new blast furnaces were erected there between 1866 and 1883. Five of these were producing a total of nearly 25,000 tons of steel per year at what was now known as Bilston Steel Works. The first electric powered blast furnaces opened there in 1907, and finally in 1954 the "Elisabeth" blast furnace was erected, creating 275,000 tons of steel per year.
Staffordshire Research Tips
Reminder: Staffordshire today covers a much smaller area than formerly. The West Midlands now governs the southeastern corner of pre-1974 Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, although ceremonially still part of Staffordshire, is a unitary authority covering a large well-populated part of the north of the county.
- Staffordshire Record Office, Eastgate Street, Stafford ST16 2LZ (phone and email contact details, opening hours, etc.)
- Stoke on Trent City Archives, City Central Library, Bethesda Street, Hanley, Stoke on Trent ST1 3RS (phone and email contact details, opening hours, etc.)
- Lichfield Record Office, The Friary, Lichfield WS13 6QG (phone and email contact details, opening hours, etc.)
- The William Salt Library is the reference library in Stafford and is adjacent to the county archive offices. They have an online catalogue of their holdings.
- GENUKI lists other large libraries in Staffordshire for Wolverhampton, Burton-upon-Trent, Dudley, Walsall, and Sandwell. The last three of these places are now in the West Midlands and may hold items of local interest which are no longer housed in Staffordshire libraries and archives. For example, The Walsall Archives Centre keeps local census records and local church records.
- The Birmingham & Midland Society for Genealogy and Heraldry includes Staffordshire in its remit. It has branches in Stoke-on-Trent, Burton-on-Trent and Wolverhampton. Publications are available through the BMSGH shop. Payments accepted by debit and credit card and by Paypal. Other family history and local history societies situated around Staffordshire are listed by GENUKI.
- The Midlands Historical Data project produces searchable facsimile copies of old local history books and directories of interest to genealogists. It specialises in the three counties of Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Staffordshire, working closely with libraries, archives and family history societies in the area. Digital images are made freely available to participating organisations to improve public access. Free search index on its web-site to all its books. In many cases payment will be required to see the extract.
- GENUKI makes a great many suggestions as to other websites with worthwhile information about Staffordshire as well as leading to a collection of 19th century descriptions of each of the ecclesiastical parishes.
- The FamilySearch Wiki provides a similar information service to GENUKI which may be more up-to-date. An index of parishes leads to notes and references for each parish. The auxiliary website English Jurisdictions can also be helpful.
- A Vision of Britain through Time has
- organization charts of the hierarchies of parishes within hundreds, registration districts (1837 onwards) and the rural and urban districts of the 20th century. They have just announced (August 2015) a future expansion to their data including 2011 census population data and links to post-1974 county organization.
- excerpts from a gazetteer of circa 1870 outlining individual towns and parishes
- reviews of population through the time period 1800-1960
- Brett Langston's list of Staffordshire Registration Districts and parishes within each registration district from 1837 to the present can indicate where to find details of civil registration entries since the process began in England.
- More local sources can often be found by referring to "What Links Here" in the column on the left.