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How to Research the History of Your House: Local Sources

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

County Courthouse and Records

A great deal of relevant information can be found within the county’s courthouse.  Typically in the Assessor’s office a copy of the property record can be ascertained.  The property record contains useful information such as the current owner, assessed value, estimated date of construction, etc.  Next, in the Recorder’s office one can typically find a copy of the deed and deed transfer information.  If the information gathered in the Recorder’s office doesn’t satisfy the research needs, more specific deed transfer information can be found in the deed transfer books.  Often times these books are located in the Auditor’s office.  Other items of use that may be found in this location are original plat maps and the original building permit.  It is important to note that the location of these items does vary by county, and before arriving at the courthouse a phone call to confirm the locations may be beneficial.

Local Historical Society/Public Library

Many historic properties have significance to the history of the town or city in which it is located.  If this is the case for the particular property being researched then information may be found at the local historical society.  Another useful location to check is the local public library, or perhaps the library in the county seat.  These libraries will likely have archived historic records for public use.  These records may include newspapers, business records, census information, library records, city directories.  These items may be useful in tracing owners and the occupancy of the structure.

Developer or Architect

Whether a developer or an architect should be sought out is dependent upon the nature of the property.  Is the property in a subdivision?  Then a developer is likely responsible for the construction of the property.  However, if it is not part of a subdivision or it appears to be very different from the surrounding homes than an architect may be responsible.  They may be able to provide information on the original owner and if the building has changed over time.

Subject Guide

Rebecca Torsell's picture
Rebecca Torsell
Architecture Building Room 120
(765) 285-8441