Tracing the History of Your Home

Discovering your family history has never been easier with online databases and other tools – making the study of genealogy increasingly popular. These skills learned while tracing your roots can be used when researching the history of your property as well. Not only can tracing the history of your home be beneficial for knowledge sake, it can also add up to ten percent to the value of your property. This has resulted in a noticeable increase in property history research.

Many homeowners research their property’s lineage to determine if it housed former celebrities. Besides the excitement of finding a former celebrity previously living in your current home, discovering the history of your house can be interesting and fun. There is a multitude of ways to locate research information on your home. If you are not able to locate any information with one method, try another until you are able to capture a background on your property.

1. Ask Others

Consult with neighbors, especially those who've resided in the neighborhood for many years. Older generations may have some information on previous owners of your house. Investigate rumors about former celebrities who may have lived in the home, including their name and approximate age at the time. It may be beneficial to find a local historian who can help uncover local myths and find further research to help you on your property history search.

2. Look at Deed

Find the title deeds to the property to help find the previous occupiers and owners of the house. If you do not have possession of the deeds, call your mortgage company or solicitor to try and find these documents. While looking for the house deeds, they may find other documents relating to the home, such as family and estate papers.

3. Search the Register

The land registration system used in the United States, concerning possession, ownership and rights to land, is recorded to provide both evidence of title and to facilitate transactions. These documents can be used to find further information on the history of the house and prior owners. Land registration in the U.S. is a matter for individual states. Each state defines its own authorities, officials, and functions with respect to the ownership of the land within that state.

4. Examine the Home

Characteristics of your home can tell a great deal about when it was built. Examine the architectural styles and take notice of various features that can help you date the home. It may also be helpful to purchase a house dating tool to approximate a date. Architectural movements are often based upon political and social change - for example, moving towards smaller houses during hard economic times.

5. Learn the History

To trace the history of your home, first look up local history to aid in your research attempts. Determine when the town was built and any major influences or events that shaped houses in the area. Visit the county records office and local libraries, and search for old maps and newspaper clippings. These historical pieces can help you learn the history of your area, which in-turn will help you in your research.

6. Read Historical Records

Use both local and national services to aid your research. The National Archive is very useful, as it holds historical information, records, and documentation that is available in other locations within the U.S. It can be highly interesting to learn of former inhabitants and the average size of families who once lived on the property.

7. Access Online Sites

There are many online sites that provide research help for tracing your family’s lineage. Many of these sites offer access to census data, old phone book directories, and local history records. This method of finding information can be more efficient and quicker than physically leafing through documents and old historical records.

8. Locate Old Maps

Local maps can help trace changes that occurred throughout the years in your area. Begin by finding current local maps from your local library and work your way back in time. With these maps, you can find an approximate date in which your property was built and when the first road to your home was recorded.

9. Uncover Old Photos

Old photographs are interesting pieces of evidence to show homeowners what their town or home once looked like. Aerial photos can be found in its archive and your home can be located by typing in your zip code or address. Look out for churches, old shops, schools, and other town landmarks that may be familiar.


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