History of Your House

Step 1: The History of Your Town  

Understanding the history of your town is helpful when uncovering the history of your house. Most towns have a formal history, usually dating from the late nineteenth century. As the 1800’s drew to a close, many towns recognized the importance of documenting their early history. Most of these histories contain a genealogy section, which is very helpful with this project if you have an older home. 

Free access to The History of Newport, New Hampshire, from 1766 to 1878, with a Genealogical Register by Edmund Wheeler is available online, and is searchable, at Google Books:  https://tinyurl.com/y7c6j6vf

Ideas to consider while learning your town’s history include:

  1. When was the town chartered and settled?
  2. Were its beginnings rooted in agriculture or was it established in response to the industrial revolution?
  3. If the town has not maintained its original character, how and why did it change?
  4. What important events occurred in your town’s history, and who were the associated people?  
  5. Make copies of any historical photographs you come across that illustrate the use of your property as they will be a big part of your finished history. 
  6. Make note, or copy, any early town maps.  

While conducting historical research of your town, keep in mind how your property fits in with the town’s history. Is it centrally located? Has the present center of town always been the town center? As you read, try to imagine how the town has expanded over the years. If there are different sections of town, were they developed for any specific purpose?