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Researching Historic Houses

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

Where to start?

There are many different sources of information when researching a property, sometimes the amount of information can be overwhelming. A great first step in researching your house is to create a chain of title, which is essentially a consolidated record of important information obtained from the deeds. These documents contain important information such as the names of the owners, when the property was transferred, and other helpful facts. The chain of title is also a great resource to have when searching other sources of information. See the Land and Property Records tab to learn how to create this document.

Researching House History

Every old home in the United States has a history within its walls. There are a variety of resources available to assist a homeowner in learning this history. From deeds and trusts, to wills, genealogies, fire insurance maps, and archival material, research can be a long yet fruitful process if you know where to look and how to look for it. This guide is intended to do just that.

While this guide focuses on Maryland, many of the same sources can be used for research across the nation. Research on a historic house is a journey that, in the end, helps the home owner understand the story of their house before their occupancy.

This site provides the tools for house research. Navigate through each tab to learn about the various sources of information you can use to learn more about your historic property. If you are new to house research, it may be best to start with the Books tab to find more about the overall process. Or if you are eager to get started, go the Land and Property Records tab to start your chain of title.

The Maryland Room

Located on the first floor of Hornbake Library North, the Maryland Room serves as the reading room for Special Collections and University Archives. All materials from our collections must be viewed in the reading room.

The Maryland Room is open to University of Maryland students, faculty, and staff; faculty, students, and staff from other colleges and universities; local, national, and international scholars; and members of the general public. You do not need an appointment to view materials in the Maryland Room.  

Materials accessed in the Maryland Room are only available to view in the reading room, and do not circulate.  For directions, hours, and other information, please visit the Maryland Room homepage.  

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