How to Search History of Your House in the US

Most of the searches for house histories would be done locally. Usually, it is in the town or county where the property is located. While searching for the house history, you must consider all the changes that have taken place over the years. 

Certain house numbers, street, town names, or county or state borders may have changed as well. There can be several reasons for you to search for the past of a house. Here, we’ll tell you how to do it:

Property records

You can begin at the County Tax Assessment Office or a similar local entity. These are the places where you’ll find a record of ownership history and some more details about the property. All the documents in the file may be maintained for a fixed number of years. 

It would depend largely on the local collections policies. If this is the case, then you can find out where the older records are archived. At the county courthouse, you can search the deeds. Starting with the most recent owner of the property, you can go backwards. While doing so, it is important to be mindful of how the transfer of property was done. 

Additional factors to consider would be sheriff’s sale, agreement of sale, inheritance, and a few others. You may need to follow the paper trail that leads to related records. They include liens or judgments filed in the Civil Court. They may also include wills and estate distributions filed with the Register of Wills. 

Make a note of the dates conveyed, owners, boundary changes, neighbours mentioned, descriptive details, and other information. When you get all the way back to the original owner, you’ll need to consider something. It is the history of the state where the property is located. You can proceed to search the state archives in each respective state. 

They are the original 13 colonies with the addition of Hawaii, Maine, Kentucky, Texas, Tennessee, Vermont, and West Virginia. National Archives is the place to search land entry case files and related records for the other 30 states.

Building Permits and Blueprints

You can also review permits and blueprints of buildings at the city our county level. They are generally held by a City Planning Office, Building Department, Borough Office, or Zoning and Code Enforcement Officer. The entity that holds these documents would depend on where you’re located. 

Records are typically searched by a permit number, address, or parcel number. These numbers are assigned by the County Tax Assessment Office.

City and telephone directories

You might look for individuals, families, or businesses to view details such as addresses, occupations and household residents. For this purpose, the city and telephone directories are the best sources. When searched broadly, they also provide a community perspective. 

There are certain research guides and digital collections that offer an inventory of the city and telephone directories. You can find them at the Library of Congress.

Local histories

You can learn about the community your house is a part of. You can also research the specific people who have lived in the area. More than 100,000 local histories and over 50,000 genealogies are available at the Library of Congress. They can be found in the Local History and Genealogy section. 

You can search the Library of Congress catalogue for the family, town, or county of interest. This would provide some historic context. You’ll get to learn what history your house might’ve witnessed. When your community installed modern conveniences like bricked roads or public water can also be known. 

You’ll also get to know whether it survived a disaster, such as a fire or a flood. The search would also help you find out what you have in common with the past residents. All other details can also be known this way.

How to Search History of Your House in the US

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