Knowing the History of Your Home: Who Lived in Your Home Before You?
Nancy Patterson - October 10, 2019
For any new or existing homeowner, you will inevitably ask yourself the question, “Who lived in my home?” at some point or another. The importance of this overall knowledge will greatly depend on individual to individual, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t be asking yourself this question before making one of life’s most considerable investments.
What sparks the curiosity of such a question is always left to the uniqueness of, well, you. Are you more interested in discovering what your home or land was used for during its past life? It’s hard not to want to conjure up images of famous dinner parties with distinguished historical guests. Or, maybe you just don’t want to walk into the former site of an event like the Amityville Horror.
Wherever your curiosity leads you, there is no shortage of available resources and assistance to know who occupied your home before you, and to finally have an answer to the question, “Who lived in my home?” Let’s not forget the possible increase in your homes value if a historical legacy is uncovered amidst your research and investigation.
Where to Begin When You Are Starting From Square One
If you have no starting point at all, then your choices are limited to starting with the very structure and architectural style of the home you are purchasing or occupying. With the assistance of an architecture guide or study book, you should be able to identify the style of your home and the approximate date of when it was built. Use every element available in your home from the floor to the roof for proper identification.
If you are feeling adventurous, maybe pull back a few pieces of flooring or paneling to start digging below the surface for telltale signs of the date and age. You could always just go for a walk around your neighborhood to study similar-looking homes, too. Either way, you are more than likely going to be dealing with a mixture of new and old features in your home, and that of other homes as well.
Even after all this research you still might not have the exact or approximate specifications of your home figured out to start digging into its historical occupancy. In this case, you may want to bring in an expert. Have them start at the foundation of your home, where it will more than likely be unaltered, and they can easily discern about whether or not your home was all built at once, or if later additions were made, along with the style of architecture and the age of the materials used.
Still Lost After Square One? Bring in a Local Expert
As mentioned, local experts may be your go-to source for dating your home and beginning your investigative journey into its historical occupancy. Experts can be found within a number of different professions from architecture and history, to restoration and preservation. These types of professionals have the potential to offer their unmatched insight into what the style and age of your home actually is. Feel free to find on nearby and offer to invite them over for a friendly chat.
If you are going to bring in an expert to assist you, it will help to know the names of the general directory’s where they can be found. You will want to start your search under the following:
- Historic Consultants
- Historic Societies
- Restoration Contractors
- Restoration Carpenters
- Architectural Historians
You should be pleasantly surprised by the number of contacts you can find while searching online or local directories for the above mentioned professional titles.
First Steps: Look for Local Historical Information on Your Property or Home
Now the engine of your mind is revving with the possibility of what you may uncover during your search for who previously occupied your home. Let’s hope the reality meets those expectations you’ve been conjuring up. Below are several quality suggestions on where you can start your search for the ghosts of occupants past.
The Census Records Archive of Your Town or City
If you can manage to set up a time to review census records at your local town or city hall, you may not have to do any further research at all. With these records, you can find names, ages, birth dates, marriages, and even the professions of the individuals who resided in the home, along with some of there personal possessions.
Your Local Library and Historic Society
Another incredible resource to tap into is your local library and historical society. From records to photographs, if you can find your home within them, you can lead yourself to the previous occupants of the home. Local libraries are notorious for keeping old newspapers, maps, and other local reports for your town or city, that could lead you closer to the answers you are looking for.
National Registry of Historic Places
Let’s start with the possibility that you either own or are looking to own an older home. You can start your search with The National Registry of Historic Places. Managed and operated by the National Park Service. This information will provide you with significant details on the age, cultural significance, and architectural style of the home that deems it a historic place of value.
Your Local Realtor
An often overlooked resource for historical information could be hiding right underneath your nose, your Realtor. Or, maybe another Realtor that is part of your Realtor’s network. If anything, they will have access to the title and deed if you are signing the ink on your home. With the title or deed information, you can then go to your local courthouse to uncover the string of previous title and deed holders associated with your home.
Next Steps: Utilize Free Tools on the Internet to Discover the History of Your Home
Often you’re just going to need to put on your detective hat and put in the work if you want to find out any historical or past occupancy information on your home, or your future home. The internet can provide you with several helpful and free resources. Go ahead and check out the shortlist of available resources below.
The above-mentioned locations are just a few of the many free internet sites dedicated to finding out more about the hidden history and past story of your home. Feel free to take the time to become familiar with them, and better understand if they can be of use in your investigative research.
The Sure Step: Use CheckPeople to Help Gather Additional Occupant Information
CheckPeople.com is a people search service that can assist you in finding further background information on the previous occupants of your home. If anything, don’t leave your curiosity unsatisfied and keep doing more research and groundwork yourself. Who knows what else you may be able to uncover beyond knowing just the previous occupants of your home.
CheckPeople.com can help you gather and analyze all available public records for the home location you are currently in. This includes everything from basic contact information, to social media data, criminal records, financial assets, and more.
The information you receive from CheckPeople.com, will only help you further along with your investigation, especially with any names and dates that are found through the report. Take that information and continue your search through the available resources provided above, and don’t stop until your curiosity has been satisfied.