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Discovering the History of Your House and Your Neighborhood Paperback – May 1, 2002

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Most homeowners probably haven't given much thought to who owned their homes two or three generations ago, or what color they were, or whether they once had different street addresses. House historian Green, on the other hand, believes that every older home should have a complete and detailed record of its previous owners, architectural modifications, and history. If you're keen to become an architectural detective, this intriguing book will get you started. Useful tips abound: if, for instance, you're looking for old photographs of your home, and you live on a main thoroughfare, check out photos of parades that might have passed by; if you're looking for information on previous owners, make sure to check for variant spellings of their surname in the relevant documents. In addition, the author steers us toward the right government offices and the appropriate library resources. There's no doubt that this is a special-interest book with a limited audience, but wouldn't it be nice to have a copy on your shelves the next time a would-be house detective asks for help? David Pitt
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“If you're keen to become an architectural detective, this intriguing book will get you started.” —Booklist


“...offers a wealth of small strategies for homeowners to discover an array of historical nuggets about their homesteads.” —Newsday
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Santa Monica Press (May 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1891661248
  • ISBN-13: 978-1891661242
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #714,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Betsy J. Green has been a writer for more than 25 years. As a freelancer, she contributed articles to newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and abroad. She specializes in writing about local history, architecture, and the environment. She researched and wrote about the history of more than 85 homes, and was responsible for nominating five properties to the National Register of Historic Places.

Green is a former associate editor of Reader's Digest and staff editor of World Book Encyclopedia.

She writes a history & humor column called Way Back When for the Santa Barbara website www.edhat.com, and a history column for The Mesa Paper.

Her books include:
Way Back When: Santa Barbara in 1915, available at www.elbarbareno.com
Way Back When: Santa Barbara in 1914, available at www.elbarbareno.com
Discovering the History of Your House and Your Neighborhood, available at www.santamonicapress.com
Images of America: Western Springs, Illinois, available at www.arcadiapublishing.com

Forthcoming Books: MESApedia - the story of the early years in Santa Barbara's Mesa neighborhood, when the Mesa was "a wide, waving stretch of emerald fields." And also
Way Back When: Santa Barbara in 1916, Way Back When: Santa Barbara in 1917, Way Back When: Santa Barbara in 1918, etc.

Visit her website at www.betsyjgreen.com for more information.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Everyone can find interest in researching the history of past inhabitants of their house. This book gives step-by-step instructions to identify the names of past inhabitants, how to locate them or their relatives, and learn facts about their lives as well as obtain old photos showing your house in previous incarnations. One can learn about hidden mysteries ranging from hidden rooms to why in the world did they choose THAT interior decoration, etc.

For inspiration I recommend reading "If These Walls Had Ears," written by James Morgan. It is what you might write when you complete research like this.
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Format: Paperback
If you've wondered how old your home is, what it used to look like, if those stories you heard are true, this is the book for you. Start with any chapter that piques your interest -- you're sure to find useful tips and things you never thought of, like using a metal detector in your yard. I found many good strategies and I've been researching homes since 1995. Green explains sources of information and how to access them, nationwide. Her glossary explains in simple language the legal terms you're likely to encounter. An excellent general introduction to the topic.
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Format: Paperback
Betsy's book is a well written, helpful resource book for tracking down the history of your house. It is full of useful suggestions and examples for finding past information on the land, the building(s), as well as the people that owned or may have lived in or on the property. I plan on following the advice in the book to research the history of my childhood home in Amesbury, Massachusetts. A great addition to any genealogy library.
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Format: Paperback
Discovering The History Of Your House And Your Neighborhood by noted house historian Betsy J. Green is a fun, simple, and "user friendly" step-by-step guide to researching the history of a private home. From surfing the Internet, to following a paper trail, Discovering The History Of Your House is a welcome and highly recommended primer to finding out everything you want or need to know about the architectural history of your own home, but didn't know who or how to ask.
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