How to Find the History of Your House

Look in the Library for Home History

Before Google, there was microfiche.
Before Google, there was microfiche.

Next, we're onto the public library. Many libraries have a Polk's Reverse Telephone Directory, allowing you to search by address rather than by a homeowner's name. These directories list the head of the household as well as the owner's occupation. Once you've determined who the early owners of your house were, you can search for their names in old newspaper records. It's doubtful you'll find this information archived on the Internet, so this means dusting off your old microfiche skills. If you were in school pre-Google, you've probably spent some time in the microfiche room. Microfiche is a method of archiving old books, newspapers and journals. Information is stored on a small piece of film that's too small to seen by the naked eye, so it's run through a magnifying device.

You may be able to find newspaper clippings about your home's former residents that can give you some clues about the house. You can also use the library to search census records, which list jobs, names and ages of people living in a single residence.

If you're able to track down the previous occupants or their descendants, that's where you're likely to get the best information: stories and pictures. If not, researching the area can be helpful in piecing together information. Records of your neighborhood may be kept in the local or county library. If you're lucky enough to stumble upon one, regional history books are full of photographs of early settlers and their residences.