HOUSE HISTORY

Chronology report

How old is your home and who was it built for? Are you interested in learning the history of your property and home?

Researching the history of a house or building can uncover fascinating information about the building and people associated with it.  The Tottenville Historical Society has researched more than 350 buildings on the South Shore, mostly residential properties. 

A brief overview of the basic steps to research your house include:

  • Determine the historic period of construction based on its character-defining architectural features.  Some of these can include:  the overall shape of the building, placement and style of windows, location of chimneys, roof style, foundation, and any existing decorative architectural ornaments (i.e. brackets).
  • Examine and compare the historic maps.  Locating the footprint of a building may help to estimate a range of years of construction. 
  • If the maps include the property owner's name near the building footprint, use the earliest information as a starting point to begin property deed research and work backwards.  Property deeds are located in the County Clerk's Office, St. George.  The seller is the "grantor;" the buyer the "grantee."

Once you have confirmed the name or names of property owner(s) you can learn more about these families by searching census data. 

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If you feel overwhelmed by this type of research, however, we can help!  As mentioned, we have completed over 350 property history reports.  Research fees would apply and can vary depending on how much information you are seeking.   Please use the Contact Form below to submit an inquiry to determine if your property is searchable.    

  • Basic Search:  $25

To learn the approximate age of the house based on the historic maps, a search fee of $25 would apply.  We provide a typewritten report with map detail images showing the property and surrounding lots.    

  • Full Report:  $100

A full chronology report would include:  a search of the archives of the historical society (historic maps, subject files, newspaper collections, historic photographs, family history files, and other in-house collections); an online database search of census data, newspapers, and other available resources that are critical to identifying previous property owners and former residents.  The fee for a full report is $100 and includes both in-house and available online resources. 

Each full report requires an average of 3-4 hours of in-house research.  The turnaround time to complete the report is generally one to two weeks. 

  • Additional Services

Sometimes an off-site visit to the County Clerk’s Office in St. George is required to access very early deeds, depending on the age of the house.   The fee is $50 to search early property deeds at the County Clerk’s Office.  This can be critical to determine an original property owner. Other off-site resources may include obituaries and wills, but they are generally accessed only for more detailed family history information. 

Please note:  We rely on documentation to support our findings, but sometimes we have to rely on our knowledge and experience to make a determination. Fees are non-refundable and results are not guaranteed.

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Research services

A
FAMILY HISTORY

REQUESTS

Millions of Americans are searching for their ancestors. It can be exciting. And it can uncover the expected! 

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B
HOUSE HISTORY

Chronology report

How old is your home and who was it built for? Are you interested in learning the history of your property and home?

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C
YEARBOOK SEARCH

YEARBOOK COLLECTION

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D
FAMILY KEEPSAKES

organizing family PAPERS

Organizing, preserving and storing your important family keepsakes - documents, photographs and artifacts - is important!

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