Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Researching the "Genealogy" of a House

I used to live in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine. The house we owned was built in 1850 and had quite an interesting history. When we moved into the house I was dying to know more about it so I spent a lot of time at the local library, the courthouse and reading old editions of the town newspaper. I was able to put together a nice "genealogy" of the house. I traced the family of the original builder and I enjoyed learning more about them. At the time I did this research, I really didn't know that much about researching old houses so I did everything the hard way.

This type of "genealogy" is gaining popularity so there are some resources available out there now. Marian Pierre-Louis is an expert in this field and you will find some things on her websites that will help you. Marian has a list of Books that she recommends. I have the last book but I don't have the first three so I just ordered them (You can never have too many books!). I just wish I had had the benefit of them when I was doing my research.

Marian's New England House Historian blog will give you some more ideas. You can also take a look at Marian's Roots and Rambles blog. It isn't about house histories specifically but she writes about current events in the genealogical world as well as other topics that you will find interesting.

Marian will be doing a webinar for Legacy Family Tree on 05 Jun 2013 on The Genealogy of Your House. It is FREE (as are all of Legacy's webinars) but you will need to register. There is a limit to how many can watch the webinar live but if you don't get in, you will still be able to watch it free for 10 days. Marian is an engaging speaker and I can guarantee you will enjoy it.

The house I live in now was built in 1961 so its isn't quite as interesting. I don't know though. Maybe it was a hideout for bank robbers or something. Maybe I need to take a look after all.

Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis


  1. Great suggestions, Michele. I, too, love the history of old houses. Like what you said about the newer ones: the ones from the 60s may have been hideouts for bank robbers, for sure!

  2. Actually, the house does have a little bit of history. It was originally at the corner of Flowing Wells Road and Columbia Road in Martinez (Georgia). It was moved to Pumpkin Center (rural Columbia County, Georgia). Three houses were moved when they leveled that area to put in a convenience store/gas station.

  3. Using deed records and city directories I've researched my house that was built in 1925. In fact, I've researched nearly every house on the block. Unfortunately building permits were lost in the 1979 Easter flood. When will I ever learn to stop!

  4. I have only done the house in Maine but I want to do another. I am going to ask around church and see if anyone is willing to be my guinea pig :)