House Histories

Your home has a story.

What do you want to know?

Your home’s history can be customized for your interests and needs, and the scale and budget are flexible.  You can ask for a combination of the main elements below, a single area of your own interest, or request research to answer a specific question about your home.

Local Context

What did your home’s past residents see when they looked out the window? Where could they go to buy groceries or catch a train? What shaped the culture and demography of the local community? The local context section of your home’s history includes maps and narrative descriptions of your neighborhood and its place in the town or city’s history. View sample pages for surrounding blocks and the broader neighborhood.

Owners and Residents

Who lived in your home? Were they renters or did they own the property? What did they do for a living? Finding out can include a full title search to the earliest recorded land transfer for your parcel, and census and directory research to build a timeline of past owners and residents. Then newspapers, yearbooks, government records, and other documents all contribute to developing the stories of families who lived there in past decades.

Building History

When was your home built, and how has it changed? What was the original layout? How might it have been decorated? Learning about your home’s development through time involves permit searches at the city level, visual inspection, floorplan, and photographs, as well as research into domestic architecture and decor at the time your home was built. View a sample floorplan and renovation page.