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Research: House & Farm Histories
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Conducting research on property can be as rewarding as conducting research on ancestors. The goal of this course is to teach the student to understand the various documents and research necessary to develop and present a house and/or farm history. Throughout this course, the student will build their understanding of house and farm related documents from established text and assignments that will require the student to practice their skills.

Course Content

Module 1
Building the Foundation: House Research
Note about Web Addresses
Why Conduct House History Research?
Architectural Glossary
Architectural Styles of Houses
• Craftsman, 1905-1930
• Colonial Revival, 1870-onward
• Dutch Colonial, 1625-1840
• French Colonial, 1700-1850
• New England Colonial, 1600-1700
• Southern Colonial, 1600-1700
• Spanish Colonial, 1600-1850
• Spanish Colonial Revival, 1915-1940
• Federal, 1780-1840
• Gothic Revival, 1830-1880
• Italianate, 1840-1885
• Octagon, 1850-1870
• Queen Anne Style, 1880-1900
• Second Empire, 1860-1890
Suggested Reading and Resources
• Australia
• Canada
• New Zealand
• United Kingdom
• United States
• Plan Books & Catalogs

Module 2
Mail Order Homes & House Kit Companies
Mail Order Homes
• Mail Order Research
Sears, Roebuck and Company
Aladdin Company
Pacific Homes
Gordon-Van Tine Co.
Montgomery Ward
Lewis Manufacturing Company - Liberty Homes
International Mill & Timber Co. - Sterling Homes
Ray H. Bennett Lumber Company
Chicago House Wrecking Co. - Harris Brothers
E. F. Hodgson Company
Strandlunds Lustron Company - Lustron Homes
Additional House Kit Companies
Suggested Reading and Resources
• Websites

Module 3
Mapping It Out
The Physical Address
• Birds-Eye View Map
• Aerial Photography
• Plat Map/Plat Books
• Topographic Map
• Fire Insurance Maps
• Weather and Climate Map
• Atlases
• Street Maps
Interim Report
Google Earth
Google Maps
David Rumsey Historical Map Collection
Ancestral Atlas
Suggested Reading and Resources
• Books
• Websites

Module 4
The Paper Trail: Land Records
Required Reading
Legal Property Description
Previous Research
Land Glossary
Visit to the Land Office
• Abstraction and Transcription
• Abstract of Title
• Title Insurance
• Chain of Title
• Deeds
• Administrator’s Deed
• Sheriff’s Deed
• Warranty Deed
• Quitclaim Deed
• Grantor and Grantee
• Transfer Books
• Mortgages
• Court Records
• Mechanic’s Lien
• Tax Assessment
• Building Permit
• Blueprint
Suggested Reading and Resources
• Books
• Websites

Module 5
The People Trail: Previous Owners & Occupants
Required Reading
Previous Owners and Occupants
• Census
• Directories
• Newspapers
• Wills and Estate
• County Histories
• Surname and Vertical Files
• Vital Records
• Neighborhood history
• Photographs and Drawings
• Biographical and Historical
• Other resources
Suggested Reading and Resources
• Australasia
• Canada
• England
• United States

Module 6
Digging Up Dirt: Farm Research
Land Records
• State-land states
• Federal-land states
Homestead Act of 1862
Agricultural Schedules
Centennial Farms
Barns and Outbuildings
Suggested Reading and Resources
• Books
• Websites

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