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Phouka Home

Researching your Old House

One of the neatest things about buying an old house is the history of the house and the families that built it and lived in it. Finding old pictures or references to the house in old newspapers is always exciting, and it gives you a keen insight into the house and it's design.

Whether you are researching an old house in order to purchase it, list it in the Historic Register, or simply restore it to it's past glory, there are a number of places to start the historical research.

Usually, it takes quite a bit of grunt work to find anything out about your old house. Records may have been lost, property changed hands without record, houses may have even been moved.

The following list is a possible starting point to look for information about your house or your neighborhood.

  • County and Local Historical Societies - often a good source of what other sources to look for, and where information might be located.
  • Old city directories - may be in local libraries
  • Deeds, wills, tax records, probate records, estate records
  • Atlases, Historic maps, plats, and photos
  • Newspapers
  • Neighbors - often the best initial source for information, especially if you have neighbors who are also interested in restoration.
  • Library of Congress - Geography and Map Division
  • Relevant architectural journals or construction drawings
  • Building permits
  • Photographs and postcards
  • Census and church records
  • Genealogical records

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All content ©1998-2009 R. Fingerson
Last updated 03/05/2009