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city archives

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm so excited. Tomorrow, I'm going to the city archives to look up info from over 100 yrs back on my house. I had no idea I could do this until today when I dropped by the neighbourhood library to look at some old local photos and sketches.
post #2 of 14
Oh i love stuff like that!. The house i'm in at the moment is only 10 years old, but my previous house was over 100 years and i would love to have known who lived in there before.

Where i work at the moment is really old, and down in the basement is a cobbled floor because it used to be stables. During the war weve been told that they used to lie the dead bodies there because there was no room.

I was a key holder for the place if the alarm went off during the night, but my ex partner also worked here because there was no way i would come in here on my own in the dead of night because someones already said they've seen things
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosiemac View Post
I was a key holder for the place if the alarm went off during the night, but my ex partner also worked here because there was no way i would come in here on my own in the dead of night because someones already said they've seen things
I don't blame you one bit. My own basement freaks me out at night.

I went to the archives last week, and it was just the coolest thing ever. I would highly recommend it if any of you are curious about your home's past life. I'm sure other cities offer the same resources.

There's this huge huge wharehouse full of marked boxes on super high shelves that require a fork-lift to access. You can view this from a viewing gallery. That stuff is more city related, I think.

The stuff that I was interested in at the time, was all available on microfiche and digitized maps on a computer.

So I sat there for hours totally engrossed in microfiches of the 1890s of the city directories. You could look up your address and see who resided there for each year. Then you could look up the occupation of the individuals. So fascinating.

Now, I have to go back to check the tax records so I can figure out who actually owned the property. They closed early at 4:30pm, so I had to leave. My house appeared to have tenants in it after it was first built, and I think the owner was a woman who was left the property from her father. Her last name was the same as my street name.

Unfortunatley, looking through records from the 1890's when a woman was involved, is very difficult. Women back then weren't given equal respect to men. So tracking their info is more difficult, especially if they didn't marry or were a widow.

Right now I know there was a barber who lived here for a year and worked at a barber shop around the corner on the main street (this address has been torn down since then). He moved to the east side of the city and worked as a stone cutter.

Next a widow moved in who moved out in a year to smaller house around the corner.

For the next while the house was occupied by a man who worked for the Bell telephone company. So cool. I had to stop at this point as it was 4:30.

When I was in the 1890 microfiche, I decided to look up the family name that my street is named after, just for fun (as a neighbour had told me that this family originally owned my house). Low and behold, a Miss ____ had my address listed as a business. So, I'm assuming she owned the house and rented it out.

My neighbour told me that this woman was left it by her father, never married and lived here until she died while renting out the two on either side which she also owned. Supposedly, it was very unusual for a woman to own property back then. I'll figure out the truth to this story when I check the tax assesment files.

Here's the spooky part. My neighbourhood went through a bad spell in the 50s-90s and most of the homes were owned by slumlords. In the early nineties, the neighbourhood has turned over and many of the old homes are being renovated, etc. Since that time, all three of the homes were purchased by single women (including myself) who live in their homes and are always striving to improve on them. One of these female neighbours passed away last year and sure enough the house was sold to an unmarried woman. (Also, all three of us own cats )

My only fear is that there is some legacy here that means if I stay here, I'll always remain unmarried!!!!! and have lots of cats!!!! But I do have a partner, as does my new neighbour, as did my neighbour who passed away......

However, I love my house like crazy and buying it was one of the best decisions I've ever made, as the area is getting to be very popular, after years of neglect. I got an excellent deal on it which made me the envy of friends who were looking to purchase soon afterwards. It was almost like it was meant to be.

Sorry, this was a long post. Thanks for reading it, if you got through to the end. I just had to share my enjoyment of this type of research!

If I ever have a ghost in the house (which i haven't) I'll at least know who it is!
post #4 of 14
It sounds as if you had a really good time, and it is very interesting. Keep us updated on whatever else you find out
post #5 of 14
I love that kind of thing!
Strange about all the single women!
I tried to do some research about where I live now because someone told me that Lord Cornwallis used to stay here. Couldn`t find anything much though.
I`m living in the basement now and in my bedroom is the huge original linen cupboard but best of all there is a big safe ( Where all the silver would have been kept, I`m told). Its been painted over and no one has the key but I`ve spoken to the landlord and he said a locksmith would probably get it open.
I like imagining what might be in there but I bet its empty

I also researched anouther house I lived in but I wont bore you all with that though I believe there was a ghost there after some strange occurances. Got the original plans from the museum which was pretty cool.

Good luck with your research!
post #6 of 14
When I was growing up we lived in the first residental house that was built in my town. The cool part about it was that we could go to the local historical society and look at pictures of our house through out time.
post #7 of 14
Ooh I love history like that. I think it's great you can go look these records up.

Jaffacake - you must find out what's in that safe! Could be Lord Cornwallis' valuables.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaffacake View Post
I love that kind of thing!
Strange about all the single women!
I tried to do some research about where I live now because someone told me that Lord Cornwallis used to stay here. Couldn`t find anything much though.
I`m living in the basement now and in my bedroom is the huge original linen cupboard but best of all there is a big safe ( Where all the silver would have been kept, I`m told). Its been painted over and no one has the key but I`ve spoken to the landlord and he said a locksmith would probably get it open.
I like imagining what might be in there but I bet its empty

I also researched anouther house I lived in but I wont bore you all with that though I believe there was a ghost there after some strange occurances. Got the original plans from the museum which was pretty cool.

Good luck with your research!
If it involves ghosts, it can't be boring!
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by pushylady View Post
Jaffacake - you must find out what's in that safe! Could be Lord Cornwallis' valuables.
Apparently his name is on the deeds! I`m gonna ring a locksmith! Probably got a dead mouse in there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred&Nermal View Post
If it involves ghosts, it can't be boring!
Well ok, you asked for it!

The man who built and lived in the house was called William Vandeluer Crake, and there was lots of times when silly things happened that I said to people, 'William did it!', just joking.

One day I had an argument with a girl in the dinning room about what a sidebaord was. ( She said it was kitchen units, I said it was a free standing peice of furnitue.)
Anyhoo, the next evening I was sat in the dinning room alone looking at the fish in the tank when I heard a 'plop' sound next too me. When I looked down there was a card from a game called Taboo. (You get lots of cards with four objects written on one side and there are words on the otherside relating to them and in the game you have to describe the objects without using those words.)
Guess what was on it? SIDEBOARD! It was really odd because the game was kept in anouther room, no-one had played it for ages, I was in the room alone, If it had been there before I would have noticed it....
When I told the others what had happened they thought I was nuts.

Anyway, anouther time there was four of us in the dinning room and in the corner was a little table with a vase of flowers on it. All of a sudden it just tipped over! It was really odd because no-one was sat right by it.
Also the manager of the place said when she`d been there at night with no-one else aroud she thought someone had come into the room and when she turned round no one was there!

It`s a lovely big house but its all boarded up now and empty.
post #10 of 14
Isn't all this interesting!. I wonder where i would need to start looking on the computer for my old house?
post #11 of 14
I found old pics of where my sister lives just by typing the name into the search thingamybob.
You could try the museum. Ours has a Local Studies Room and the reference library will have records that you can get started with.
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosiemac View Post
Isn't all this interesting!. I wonder where i would need to start looking on the computer for my old house?
Your city's archives or start at your local library (mine had a special file cabinet with local history of the neighbourhood).
post #13 of 14
How interesting! I moved into a historical area and would love to know the history on this place. I've been meaning to go look up the history but never get an opportunity. I think I'll make that a priority in the near future.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
So, I returned to the archives on the weekend. I have learned that two sisters owned lots of land on my street. Their mother owned an estate about 1/4 mile away before 1890, but sold the land, about 20 acres, to housing developers. I assume she also bought land (or her deceased husband did) on my street and left it to her two daughters.

The daughter who owned my house sold it before 1912.

I spent more time looking at old maps on the computer. This was really neat. They let you print out whatever you wanted for a small fee, so now I have maps of my street from 1880 - 1923. Very cool to see what was built over the years.

As an aside, I decided to look up my great-grandparents house as it was in the area. Very cool to see their names on the microfiche and track year by year when my grandfather and his siblings were born (you had to list how many kids you had in the house back then). Everything was written in hand , then the archives transferred this to Microfiche.

I love the archives! My new favourite past-time!
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