Searching for the history of your home can be a quick project or may take many days and research trips to various historical repositories.  The first place you should start is with the County Assessor's office. The County Assessor is responsible for identifying, classifying, and valuing all real property transactions.  For the purpose of researching your property, the County Assessor should have a listing of some, and perhaps all, of the people that owned the property before you did. Oftentimes the County Assessor's office will have records for fifty to seventy five years.  After that point, the records are probably in the State Archives or Historical Society. 

 

You also should check with your local public library.  Not only is your public library the backbone of the community, but librarians in general are an awesome resource.  Oftentimes there is a local history section within your public library. Talk to the librarians to see if they have something related to your search.  Ask how their records are organized, and how to best use the documents. Read (and check out if you can) books about your community. See if they have any historical newspapers.  You also may want to ask if they have any suggestions for further research.

 

In addition, take into consideration where the property is located.  Is your property in part of the country that was at one point a colony, or perhaps settlement occurred under public land laws and was federal public land?  Federal public land refers to territories and later states that were NOT part of the original 13 colonies, or were at some point their own country, such as Texas.  The distribution of land within these areas is or was under the administrative control of the federal government, specifically the Department of the Interior, General Land Office, and later the Bureau of Land Management.  If your property is in one of the states that made up the thirteen original colonies, check with that state's archives. If your property was part of the public land system, then perhaps there is a related homestead record. Detailed instructions on how to sbegin your research for federal land records may be found online at https://www.archives.gov/research/land/land-records.

 

If you own a historic property (older than 50 years) you have a lot more research avenues available.  Beginning in the 1880s the U.S. Census was listed according to the property address. Many house numbers have changed over the years but using city directories and enumeration districts (EDs) can help you find your property.  Many of the EDs have been digitized and are available online. One source of information is Steve Morse ED finder https://stevemorse.org/census/unified.html

 

Finally, if you own a historic property, it may already be listed on the National Register.  The Register is another great source of information.  When the property was submitted for listing, a historical context (or study) was created to justify its inclusion on the Register. This documentation is submitted to the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) and the National Park Service.  These properties and related documentation are listed in the NPS’s Register of Historic Properties at https://www.nps.gov/subjects/nationalregister/index.htm.