My home is 98 years old. When shopping for a new home, I was drawn to the charm and unique character of the older home. As I wandered through each room in the house, I couldn’t help wondering about all of the secrets these old walls hold. How many families have they witnessed, growing up through happiness, heartache, and change? Afterall, this house has stood through both World Wars, the Great Depression, the tumultuous sixties and seventies, and the technological advances of the past thirty years. The abundance of history recorded here would fill volumes; I can’t help thinking it would be a fun winter project to learn more about my home’s past.
Finding Legal Documents
Researching your home’s history really isn’t that much different from researching your family’s ancestry, only it’s easier and less complicated as it has been in one spot since its origin. Begin by going to your local courthouse and researching what legal documents exist. Unless your home is extremely old, there should be some form of a deed of the original owner. If there are not records dating that far back, look for some defining piece of building material that you could take to a historian to determine the time-period it was used.
Finding Previous Owners
Another option is to track down previous owners. The courthouse will have these records on file, and you discover what stories the previous owners have heard about the place. Neighbors, especially those who have lived there for a long time will also know a lot about your house.
Once you have compiled your information, put it into a scrapbook for a coffee-table book. Not only will your visitors enjoy flipping through its pages, but future buyers will love having a historical record to help connect them to the property.