History is much more than a list of dates and names recorded in a textbook. It’s a fascinating blend of mundane stories and fantastic tales that encourages those who delve into its mysteries to think about what life was like in the past, the ways that it varied by time and place, and how those infinite variations shaped life today. While there is plenty of information available about history on a grand scale, finding the small, intimate stories tied to familiar people and places can be more challenging (and more exhilarating when you succeed). If walls could talk, what would your home’s walls say? Use the tips below to learn how to find the history of a house.
How to Research on a House
What stories are lurking on your property, waiting to be revealed? Much like exploring your family tree, learning how to find the history of a house can provide an opportunity to learn more about the world and your place in it. There are several things that you can do to find out more about what your house has seen and the people who have spent time there.
Talk to Neighbors and Former Residents
Talking with your neighbors and the people who lived in your house before you can help you form at least a basic outline of what your home’s history holds, according to Simplemost. A simple conversation could open new avenues of inquiry, suggest interesting angles, or offer facts that you can build on as you uncover your home’s history.
Conduct a Title Search
When a home is purchased, a title search is conducted to verify that the title is clear and ownership of the property can be transferred cleanly. As Zillow reports, a title search report contains a treasure trove of information for those curious about a property’s past, including a list of the names of all the prior owners. If you can’t find the report generated when you bought your home, ordering a new title search could provide you with a list of names that you could use to explore what life was like in your house before it was yours.
Look at Old Public Records
If you’re willing to do a little digging yourself, old public records can yield quite a few clues. As Architectural Digest points out, public records can tell you about who owned the property, legal challenges, lawsuits, bankruptcies, marriages, divorces, births, and deaths. While the records themselves may be dull reading, the picture that emerges as you piece together the facts can be fascinating.
Visit Local Libraries, Historical Societies, or Preservation Organizations
According to Moving.com, local libraries, historical societies, and preservation-minded organizations can provide amazing insights into what life was like in the past in a specific location. You’ll often find photographs, letters, diaries, newspapers, artifacts, and even experts willing to discuss this history with you or point you in the direction of more information. Even if their archives don’t have data that directly pertains to your house, these groups can provide a rich background that will help you make sense of the facts that you’ve assembled.
Use the Internet
As long as you have internet access, you can find a wealth of information with the click of a mouse. Countless genealogy websites can help you explore the stories of your community and the people who lived there before you. What about people who might have died in your house? There’s a website for that: Died in House instantly searches more than a million records to uncover any death records associated with a particular property. Have you uncovered unusual architectural features or found artifacts in the attic, basement, or backyard that you’d like to know more about? Searching the internet can be an easy way to learn more or to connect with others with similar interests.
At PrimeLending of Kansas City, we think that buying a home should be a rewarding experience. We welcome curiosity and the opportunity to learn about your story. If you have questions about home loans or refinancing, we would be happy to answer them. To learn more, contact us today.