the History of Your House
Indianapolis Marion County Public Library has
more information about different ways to research the history of
Historic Preservation Commission offers instruction for home
researchers and provides forms to help searchers get started.
1. Check the National
Register of Historic Places to see if your house is listed.
2. Check with
the Indiana Historic Sites and Structures Inventory to find a copy of the Interim Report. This report will have the survey findings of
historic sites and structures in your county. It may have some information
on your house.
3. Search for
a copy of the abstract. The abstract is a summary of all transactions
involving a piece of property. The abstract may be located somewhere
in the house itself or in the possession of the previous owners
or in the hands of the mortgage holder. This abstract will refer
to the land rather than the house structure, but it will provide
dates and leads to follow for more information.
4. If the abstract
is unavailable, you will need to research the deed and trace the
chain of title. For this, you need the legal
description of the property or the current owner's name. You can find this at the County Tax Assessor's office. Ask for the property card that you can then take to the County Recorder's Office.
5. You can now search
in the County Recorder's Office. Trace backwards
in time, starting with the current owner. Using the transfer books,
go from the grantee's name to the grantor's name. Keep repeating
the process. At the Marion County Recorder's Office they now have records back to 1964 available by a computer search using Laredo software.
They also have the original Plat Maps of the area dating back to the early 1900s on film that can be printed out.
Office records and preserves public records, including Deeds, Mortgages,
Liens, Releases, Leases, Articles of Incorporation, Assumed Business
Names, Military Discharges, Subdivision Plats, UCC's (Uniform Commercial
Code filings) and other documents. However it does not generally
include Court Orders, Decrees, Judgments, Wills or Death Certificates.
County Recorder's Offices
local county library, which is usually located in the county seat,
is a good place to start to find much of the following information.
Most libraries have an Indiana Room that contains local history
city directories to find the names of the home's occupants as opposed
to the owner's names. Begin with the most recent directory and work
backwards. Be aware that the street names and numbering system may
have changed. These are now available online at IUPUI University Library City Directories.
maps created for fire insurance purposes from 1867-1970 produced
by the Sanborn Map Company. It will indicate any alterations in
your house and/or outbuildings. The
Indiana State Library has a collection on microfilm and can
fulfill requests by mail. Many county libraries may also have local
area maps available. These are now also available online at IUPUI University Library Sanborn Maps.
8. Check out
county atlases. They will indicate ownership and sometimes show
the position of buildings on the land. They will sometimes have
the history of the county along with biographical sketches of the
9. Check the
county histories. They will tell the history of the county and often
have biographical sketches of some of its citizens.
10. Check the
vertical files for pamphlets, news clippings, and brochures on historic
buildings in the area.
the newspapers for the obituaries of previous owners of the house.
Wedding announcements also might provide additional information
and mention of the house. Perhaps, you will find an article that
featured the home's architecture and/or décor.
for biographical information on the previous owners, builders and/or
architects of the house. Family histories, scrapbooks, diaries,
memoirs, and other such items might provide you with additional
the census records that will tell you much information about the
people living in the household beginning with the 1850 census.
14. Odyssey Antique Maps has unique maps for areas of old Indianapolis/Indiana counties & towns, USA, and select foreign cities and counties.
For more information,
refer to the Historic House Research Handbook found in the verticle
files in your local library.
was found, in part, in the Indiana Room at the Noblesville Southeastern
Public Library, January 2001. UPDATED November 2012.