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How To Trace The History Of A House


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Hi, I'm trying to gather information on how to trace the history of my house. It's an over/under duplex in what I believe is known as "Four Square" style. It was completed in 1931. There are a couple of other houses on the block with a very similar style, and I've seen a lot of them throughout the neighborhood and in 3rd Ward. My house is near Broadmoor Park.

Adding to my confusion is the "shed" behind the house. It's very well-built, out of what looks like cedar planks. It has a "horse window" on it, like the one Mr. Ed would stick his head through. It looks like the original roof was tin, but most of it has been replaced with the same asbestos tiles that the main house uses.

I asked my longtime-resident neighbor about it and he only remembers back to the 60's. It's been a rent-house since then -- for awhile a rotating cast of artist/hippie types lived there (the 70's Volvo floormats and custom-made "WAR IS PEACE" sign I found in the shed attest to that), and in the 90s it became a "frat house" of sorts where a lot of UH athletes lived. I started renting it in 2008, and my new wife and I bought it in 2010 when the landlord got out of the business.

I tried tracking down all the former owners on HCAD, which has online records back to 1984. (It has changed hands several times since then, reinforcing its "rent house" lineage.) I can't locate any of them, at any rate.

So...I'm looking for any ideas of how to continue in my research. I suspect there are offices I can go to and look at big books but I don't know which ones. Thanks for any thoughts!

Attached is a picture of the house.



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The Harris County Clerk's website has real estate records going back to the 60's. Use the information from HCAD to get you started. After that, you have to go to the County Clerk's office to further back. City directories are a good resource, you can get the names of the residents. Those are available online for some years.

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I think that the Eastwood Civic Association serves your neighborhood. If they circulate a newsletter, perhaps a question or two submitted to it would get you some answers.

I know that there are some long time residents living in our 'hood who do not go to the meetings but do read the newsletter and some of those 'long time residents' know much of the sub division history, not only on their street but all over.

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I used Ancestry.com's access to the city directories to find the previous owners of my Eastwood house, and also to trace where my grandparents owned property back in the 1940s. I would recommend you start with the directory released just after HCAD shows your property was built (mid-30s would be my guess), and go from there.

Good luck!

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  • The title was changed to How To Trace The History Of A House?
  • The title was changed to How To Trace The History Of A House

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