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Researching Historic Houses

A guide to the process and resources for researching historic properties in Maryland.

Images, Memorabilia, and Interviews

Another great way to learn information about your home and its occupants is through interviews. You may be able to locate a former owner or resident, or ask someone who has lived in the neighborhood for a long time. If you are able to speak with anyone, you may want to ask them if they have old photographs of your home, or any other material that would give you a better understanding of how your home looked in the past. Helpful forms of images and memorabilia include:

  1. Birth, Marriage, and Death Certificates, which are kept at the county courthouse or city hall;

  2. Family Letters, Papers, and Scrapbooks, found at a local library or historical society;

  3. Photographs in the library, family papers, a historical society collection or newspaper;

  4. Prints, Lithographs, and Postcards held in libraries and historical societies, as well as commercial dealers;

  5. Aerial Photographs, kept by the city or county planning office or in a local library;

  6. Birds Eye Drawings, found in local libraries or archives.

These sources will provide a fuller picture of the history of your home if you find them.

Postcards

Postcards are a great way to see what the property looked like at a certain point in time. If there is no postcard of the property you can look at postcards of the town and neighborhood your property is in to get a better idea of the property's setting during a specific time period.