All Women's Talk

Does Your House Have an Interesting History ...

By Alison

Did you know that there are many ways to find out about your house's history? If your house was built fifty or more years ago, it will have been lived in by at least two generations of people. Some houses are a hundred years old or more - imagine the history they've seen! So here are some ways to find out about your house's history and the people who lived there …

1 Official Archives

One of the best ways to find out about your house's history is to look in the official archives. They will hold information such as maps and censuses, which will tell you who lived in your house in the past. You can also look up the birth, death and marriage records to find out information about the people that lived there.

2 Newspapers

Local newspapers can also be a source of information on your house and who lived there. Search their archives, which may be available online, to see if there are any articles about your house and its residents. You never know - something newsworthy may have happened there!

3 Books

Most towns have a local historian who has written books on the history of the town. If anything noteworthy has happened there you should find something about it. You may also find that an important citizen lived there. So check the history of your town and see if your house is mentioned there. Remember to look closely at the photos, as it may appear in one of those.

4 Neighbors

Do you have any elderly neighbors? If they have lived in the area all their lives they will be a mine of information on local history. Most older people remember in fine detail who lived exactly where, and they may be able to tell you about when the house was built, who lived there, and if and when it was extended.

5 Architecture

If you are interested in the history of the building, rather than the people who lived in your house, you can find out a lot of information. Look at building plans in your local archive; they may tell you who built the property, who for, and how much it cost to construct. Even boring records like property taxes and water connection can give you information about when the house was built.

6 Local Library

Pay a visit to your local library, as they often hold local archives. They may also be able to put you in contact with local history groups and historians, who may have turned up information about your house. Most people are happy to share information if it's for personal and not commercial use.

7 Former Owners and Their Family

I know all about the history of my family home because it's relatively new (1960s), and my family have always lived there. So if you can locate someone whose family used to own the house, they may be able to tell you a lot about it. They could also have photos of the house from years ago.

Finding out about the history of your house is an interesting experience. It may have changed considerably over time; for example, a small apartment building may once have been a single family dwelling. And finding out about the people who lived there is fascinating. Do you live in an old house?

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