Are you curious in who lived in the house before you? Begin by looking at ancient census records. You should be able to learn the names of family members who resided in the house, as well as their ages, birth states, year of immigration, marriage status, occupations, personal possessions, and other fascinating details.
You can also use property records to learn about people who have lived in your home over time. For example, if there is a will recorded for the house, it can tell you information about the testator (who wills the house) that cannot be found any other way. If the house was inherited, the will may provide information about other family members.
Finally, you can try to guess who might have lived in the house based on physical characteristics such as age, gender, hair color, eye color, height, weight, scars, or tattoos. The more information you have about your occupants, the easier it will be to identify them from research materials.
In conclusion, the best way to learn about past residents of your home is by doing research. Look up facts about them in books or online databases. Try to understand what life was like for them, where they came from, and what they needed to survive. This will help you to imagine what kind of people might have lived in your home.
Because records may be preserved by state, county, or local entities, knowing where your ancestor lived is critical to effective research. Local documents such as censuses, death certificates, county histories, military records, and obituaries provide a wealth of information about the individuals who lived there. For example: their names, ages, birthplaces, parents' names, spouses names, if they were married, children name(s), if any; property values; occupations; criminal records; civil records (such as divorce decrees); and even photographs are often included in these sources.
For residents of states with large populations of people with immigrant backgrounds, such as California, Arizona, New York, Texas, and Illinois, it is likely that at least one of their counties was filled with immigrants from another country. Most counties conducted census surveys every ten years, so look for those records too!
States, territories, and foreign countries have different requirements for citizenship status, age, and language proficiency. Make sure you check all of these factors before jumping to conclusions about your ancestral residents.
For example, some states require only 18 years of age as a minimum age requirement for a voter registration application. Other states allow 19-year-olds to vote in primary elections but not general elections. Still other states permit anyone over the age of 17 to register to vote.
How to Discover Your Great-Grandparents' Names
Find out which churches your ancestor may have attended and where (or if) their records might be found. Your ancestor's birth date can be found in the post-1850 census data. Some census years include a month and year, while others just provide the year or the individual's age.
If there are no records of your ancestor's birth, try using church records. Most churches kept records during this time period. Search by location to find out if any churches in your ancestor's town or village had records that might help identify their birth place.
Also search for records of deaths during this time period. Many towns recorded deaths in a similar way as births - with a list of those who died and where they lived. This is known as a "death record".
Finally, check local history books for information about places in which your ancestors may have lived before coming to America. Local histories often include brief biographies of people from different generations. These articles are often based on research done by other people so they too may offer clues as to where your ancestors came from.