Warren County Genealogical Society
Warren County, Ohio
Chapter of Ohio Genealogical Society
Tracing the History of
406 Justice Drive, Lebanon, Ohio 45036
Hours: 9 AM-4 PM Monday through Friday
Tracing the history of your home can lead to new
insights into the lives of your ancestors. Occupations, hobbies and other
details can be gleaned from information found in land records. This is a
brief summary adapted from the book Discovering the History of Your House
by Betsy J. Green. This book has detailed information and is a great resource
if you are trying to track down the history of your home. If you are searching for land records and need help, please
department and we will assist you in finding what you need.
Documents that could aid you in researching
your homes’ history
Deeds: Immensely helpful to track down prior owners and the history
of your house. Sometimes structure details will be listed. Not all owners
of land listed actually lived in the home, especially if their property was
rented or mortgaged.
Phone Books & City Directories: Check through all phone books and
city directories available for your address, or if you know the name of the
prior owners. This is a time consuming process but helpful if the deeds
don’t provide enough information.
Death Records: Find death records for prior owners. Might give clues
to when they sold the land.
Will & Estate Records: Provides details about the owner, heirs and
many times an inventory of the owner’s belonging. Might include a
description of the home.
Building Permit Department & Code Enforcement: Search by property
address for permits filed for homes, fences, and additions. Also check for
utility records for water, sewer, electric, etc. These may show when
service was first connected.
Tax Records: Check online auditor’s records first. Tax records might
indicate when a house was first built or renovated. Look for large
increases in taxes.
Fire Insurance Maps: (Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps are available at
OPLIN). These maps might list what building materials were used during
Historical & Genealogical Societies: Once you discover the previous
home owner’s names check for old photos or stories on those individuals at
your local genealogical or historical society. The Warren County Historical
Society has a very large collection of photographs of people and locations.
Local history books might also have information or pictures. Newspapers
might have real estate ads or articles about the family or the house.
Obituaries for prior owners sometimes list their occupation, migration
dates, living heirs and other helpful details.
Relatives of those that lived in the home: Relatives of the owner or
the prior owner themselves might still be alive. Be courteous when making
contact. They may or may not be willing to share information with you.
Explain who you are and the scope of your project to track down the history
of your home. Make sure to ask if they have any photos or information they
are willing to share. A letter sent prior to your visit might provide them
with enough time to look through their records and contact other family
members who might be willing to help with your project.
Local Libraries: Many local libraries have photographs in their
collection. The libraries in Warren County with such collections are
indicated in the “Local Records” section towards the back of this book.
Check for family names, parades that might have passed by your home, weather
stories in the area, etc.
Real Estate Agencies: They’ve been around awhile. Ask if they have
Renovations: If the home has been renovated, check for writing on the
walls. Many times dates, names, etc. were written on the walls when it was
Metal Detectors: Make sure to check the land with metal detectors.
You never know what metal objects you might find on the land near the home.
Sometimes these artifacts might provide clues to their work on the land,
i.e. farmer, rancher, miller, etc.
Keep in mind people make mistakes.
Records might not be available due to lack of record keeping or through
Photograph your home as it currently looks from all angles to preserve it
for future generations and to aid in discussion with others including prior
Donate a copy of your findings to the Warren County Genealogical Society,
Warren County Historical Society, or other local society or library.
©2009-2010 Warren County Genealogical Society
For Non-commercial Use Only
This page was created on 7 December 2009 and last updated on
27 August 2010