How do I Research the History of My Home?Updated 7/21/2011
Researching your House
Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Search for deeds, tax records, property abstracts, and maps to determine your house’s previous owners and the history of the building. Your city or county records office can help you begin.
- Look through city directories, census records, and insurance maps for information on the house’s previous owners. Your public library and local historical society will have this information.
- Conduct a search of the house and its yard. An architect or archaeologist can offer advice as to what to look for, and don’t forget to search the rafters for records the former owners may have left behind.
- To determine whether the house is a designated historic structure on the local, state, or national level, or to find out if it is within a historic district, contact your State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).
- If your house is a locally designated historic structure, or in a historic district, you may need local approval to make any changes to the exterior. Ask your local planning office.
- Easements or other tax abatement programs may be available to you. Again, your local planning office and local preservation commission are the best sources of information.
- For additional tips on researching the history of your home, please visit the National Trust Library’s website at this link: www.lib.umd.edu/NTL/Houseguide/index.html