Warren County Genealogical Society
Warren County, Ohio
Chapter of Ohio Genealogical Society
Tracing the History of Your Home


(513) 695-1144


406 Justice Drive, Lebanon, Ohio 45036
Hours: 9 AM-4 PM Monday through Friday

Driving Directions


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 contact our research department and we will assist you in finding what you need.

Documents that could aid you in researching your homes’ history

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Death Records: Find death records for prior owners.  Might give clues to when they sold the land. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 
  6. 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.
  7. Fire Insurance Maps: (Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps are available at OPLIN).  These maps might list what building materials were used during construction.
  8. 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. 
  9. 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.   
  10. 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.
  11. Real Estate Agencies: They’ve been around awhile.  Ask if they have old photos. 
  12. 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 being renovated.
  13. 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.




©2009-2010 Warren County Genealogical Society
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This page was created on 7 December 2009 and last updated on 27 August 2010