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How to Research the History of Your House: Map Resources

A guide to help homeowners research the history of their home.

Beacon (GIS)

This website can be very helpful if it has been completed for the particular county in Indiana.  If it has not yet been completed it is labeled as Basic, and it is similar to Google Maps.  The first step gives the option of choosing between searching by property and just viewing the map.  It is simpler to just search by the property.  Once the specific property is found it gives the name of the owner and the previous owners, zoning class, tax information, square footage, a basic floor plan, building materials, year of construction, sale prices, etc.  This information should be cross checked as it is found to be inaccurate on occasion, but it is a good starting place. 

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

The Sanborn maps are a series of maps created originally for assessing the fire insurance liability of individual properties in primarily urban areas.  Updated versions of the Sanborn maps were produced approximately every ten to fifteen years. 

These maps provide a great deal of information; for example, the development of the community over the course of several maps, the building’s material, land use, and how the footprint of the building has developed and altered.  These are often located with other city records or in the library or archives of universities.  Other maps can also be very beneficial to your research, but the Sanborn maps are especially so.

Photo: 1911 Map from Ball State University's Archives and Special Collections Muncie IN Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps Collection. https://dmr.bsu.edu/digital/collection/SanbrnMps/id/202

Subject Guide

Rebecca Torsell's picture
Rebecca Torsell
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