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how do i research history of house


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#1 Casper2004

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 04:34 PM

hey,

i have 4 houses i want to research the history on, and i dont know how.

am i able to do this online from home?

is there a certain website i should know about ?

or do i have to go somewhere for help to do it ?

thanks.....

#2 Cryscat

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:45 PM

You can go to City Hall and pull all of the building/renovation permits on the houses. It helps in your reseach to know the parcel number of the lots the houses are sitting on. The lot numbers are usually on your property tax bill. You can find it online, if your state has a website.
Local newspapers might have records, if something noteable happened, or check your local library. Does your area have a historical society? They can be a source of information as well. Good Luck!
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#3 Casper2004

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 03:26 PM

i would like to do it on my computer at home , i dont know if thats possible tho, i dont know what city hall is and im not sure if my town has a historical society but i can probably google it and find out

#4 loganinkosovo

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 09:47 PM

http://limerick.patc...rd-borough-hall


http://www.royersfordborough.org/



http://en.wikipedia....d,_Pennsylvania
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#5 Aesalon

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 04:48 PM

Some counties have the material available online but a lot of the information can really only be found on the hard copy at the county courthouse. Here is a blog by our research coordinator that may help you get started there: (Two parter)
http://fbnparanormal.com/blog/

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#6 Redhead

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 02:25 PM

i would like to do it on my computer at home , i dont know if thats possible tho, i dont know what city hall is and im not sure if my town has a historical society but i can probably google it and find out


Casper, a city hall is the place where all city government takes place. It's where your mayor, treasurer, clerk, etc., go to work each day to run your hometown. The city clerk's office will have property records. The city treasurer's office will have tax bill records. If you go to your phone book, then look up City of _____, and look for city clerk (not to be confused with clerk of court), you can call them to see if they have this information online. If they do, they'll give you the web address. If not, you'll have to go down there and look at it. You can also garner much information at your local library as well. Just ask them about it at the reference desk.
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#7 Cryscat

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 10:15 PM

What we are all saying is that you may have to get off the computer. Redhead gave a good discription of what City Hall is. The local liberay's staff will be able to help too. Just ask at the reference desk.

Edited by Cryscat, 27 February 2013 - 10:15 PM.

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#8 Cryscat

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 10:20 PM

found this online

http://www.springcitypa.net/sfahs/
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#9 kats_god

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 12:54 AM

I agree...City Hall is your best bet. You may be able to email somebody at your City Hall for the info but chances are...you will have to take a trip down there. Your local library may have something on it as well. It can't hurt to hit both of them up to cover all bases.
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#10 TheresaRHPS

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 02:29 PM

There's some good information above, but I wanted to add a few general things. As historic research manager for my group, I do a LOT of house histories, lol.

I live in WV...and with the exception of ONE local county having the most recent title information only online...I find that I have to do a lot of onsite research at the local genealogical library and the county courthouse. In my area, our city hall does not keep the records...those are at the county clerk's office at the courthouse.

The county clerk is where all the deed books are actually stored. You'll need to have either the full address or the owner's name in order to get started. Some counties provide computers where you can enter this data and have it give you which book to look in first. Others, you have to ask an employee to do this for you. Once you find the most recent deed, contained in the actual text will be the book and page of the previous deed from the previous owner....work your way back until you hit a snag. Once in awhile, this information isn't available, especially if there is a lien or mortgage or if its simply left out. Then, you can check the list of grantors/grantees to help you find where the next one is. Also, the county assessor's office is usually right across the hall...the assessor's office in my state is where the actual property maps can be obtained. Look at the property maps, as properties will sometimes combine or split up, and the wording in the deed isn't always super clear.

There are some downfalls to doing title searches....title searches will only tell you the owner of the property. It won't tell you who lived there. However, if you have a list of the owners, you can usually check through vital statistics who they were married to, and who their children were. This is where an Ancestry.com membership REALLY comes in handy. Ancestry.com has the census data for up until 1940 and will list everyone living in the home at the time.

Again, there are some limitations...census records, which can also be obtained at any library that has a genealogy section, are only taken every 10 years. If a child is born and dies within the span, they would be hard to track down through this data alone. Also, if the home was a rental property, chances are the renters are going to change several times within that span of time. That's where city directories can come in handy...again, can be found at the library. There are some city directories at Ancestry.com as well, but I have yet to figure out how to search them by address (usually they only come up when you have a person's NAME). I love city directories since you can look up data through name OR address. But, like anything, there are limitations here, too.

City directories report the address at the date of the publication, but addresses can change for the same building over time. That's why its important to check multiple sources when doing the history of a home or building if you want the full story. You can also simply type the address or any owners/tenants names into a search engine and if there is anything significant enough, it should come up. If you have some death dates of anyone in the home, try to find obituaries and/or death certificates to see if they died in the home, or if there were any fires/murders/etc. in the home.

And don't be discouraged, lol. I'm lucky enough to have access to some great locations, and lucky that the WV state archives has a lot of documents (birth/death/marriage) available online, but research is rarely black and white. It's never as easy as it looks on TV and very rarely does magical information that completely solves the case and answers all questions pops up on a website...especially a FREE website, lol. Those newspaper articles that come up with a simple search on scary movies...they don't tell you that you have to pay an arm and a leg to view them online, hehehe.

So yeah, there are plenty of aspects of research that CAN be done at home on the computer, but many of those services you do have to pay for. There is some stuff that you actually have to go and get the primary documents from the primary sources, either because its much more affordable, or simply because its NOT available anywhere online. If you absolutely refuse to leave the house, you might be able to pay someone to get these documents for you, but again, it adds up. Call the county clerk first and see if they pull documents for the public. If not, contact a local genealogy society....they will have paid volunteers that might do it.
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#11 Redhead

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 07:47 AM

Wow, Theresa, that is a lot of valuable information that we can all use! Thank you so much for posting it.
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