A few weeks back I mentioned the various means by which you can find out where your family once lived. Well I have come across an increasing number of people eager to find out how I would find out the history of my house. For many property buyers there is quite a bit of romance to buying a house with a history. The history may have to do with the previous owners or with the property’s architecture. New developments can be all well and good with spiffy conveniences, but a house that has stood for over a hundred years is bound to have some juicy history attached to it, or so many of us hope. It is the kind of thing that really makes for delightful dinner party conversations.
For a newly purchased home, I would make the first inquiry on the history of my house with the realtor. They are able to give information on when the property was built and details on new additions and renovation work. If the house is in a less urban locale, and the realtor is familiar to the property, they should be able to give information on the previous owners and the work that has been done to the property. Estate Agents often like to relate stories about a property and its owners, particularly if it will help clinch the deal.
The local council and record offices are also a good resource on the history of my house. Information on permits issued will give a history of the work done to the structure. Also, you should be able to tell if the house was part of a bigger estate on the maps. Legal records and census returns will also give data on the history of ownership. For much older properties, these records are probably going to be under the custody of the local archive.
At the local archives service or library, I do find there is a dedicated section on the area where I can look up my house history. This resource should be really useful. There will be everything from tax records to the private papers of the estate manager. When researching the history of my house, I find it is easier to actually know what I am looking for, this helps me narrow down the search to the relevant government department. Even if the property is in town, estate records should be able to yield information on developments done on the property. Census records are a good way of finding out the details of the occupant past. Be sure to check online for information that may already be available to the public.
Whether my house history interest concerns how the house originally looked when new or who lived there in the early 1900s, my local records and archives office would be the safest bet. If you are not familiar with your family’s genealogy, then use the same tips to find out more about your past.
I have a limited number of copies of Signed Copies of “Tracing the History of Your House: The Building, the People, the Past”
if you would like to buy a copy