Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Old Houses of Old Dartmouth"

Here's a program that folks might enjoy.  It looks like a great program from the New Bedford Whaling Museum that is coming up in October.

Lecture: "Old Houses of Old Dartmouth," 
with Bob Maker

Date: Thursday, October 14, 2010
Start Time: 6:45 pm
(Time Zone: US/Eastern)

Location: Museum Theater

Category: Public Calendar


Local historian, writer and long-time friend of the New Bedford Whaling Museum, Bob Maker, will explore a remarkable collection of turn-of-century photographs from an unpublished volume, titled “Photographs of Houses and Public Buildings in New Bedford, Fairhaven, Acushnet, Dartmouth and Westport.”

Donated to the Society in 1907 by Herbert and Anna Cushman, the volume contains photographs by Fred W. Palmer and text by local historian Henry B. Worth, who collaborated to document the oldest buildings still standing in the original township of Old Dartmouth.

Beginning in 1904, Palmer photographed of over 200 buildings with construction dates ranging from the late 1600s to the 1840s. His are the only known images for many buildings outside New Bedford.

Henry Worth visited and meticulously researched each of the buildings, tracing deeds back to the earliest records. He consulted town meeting records, maps, interviewed property owners, descendants of builders and earlier owners. Worth’s text combines this information with his own extensive knowledge of architecture and building construction.

Worth was a significant figure in the early years of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society, the governing body of the New Bedford Whaling Museum. He wrote the annual “Report of the Historical Research Section” from 1904 to 1911, and authored a number of the early Old Dartmouth Historical Sketches.

Bob maker conceived of the Palmer & Worth project to make these rare images available to the greater New Bedford region through the Museum's Depts. of Digital Initiatives, Photography, and the Research Library. He also completed a full transcription of the text.

Museum volunteer Penny Cole, also worked with Bob to prepare the images and their cataloging.

This program is supported in part by grants from the Dartmouth and Fairhaven Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Contact: Arthur Motta
Phone: 508-997-0046, ext. 153

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Using a Deed Chart to Trace Your Deeds

One of the most important aspects of researching the history of your house is tracing the deeds. The deeds provide you with the name of the owner(s) of the home. You need the name of the owner to find many other types of documents such as census records.

Using a chart to trace your deed helps you keep track of the information you have found.

Here are two deed charts your can use to trace your deeds:

1. Deed Chart - PDF document

2. Deed Chart - Word .doc document

Happy Deed Hunting!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Taking a Stroll Along Benefit Street

Last night I had the opportunity to walk along Benefit Street in Providence, Rhode Island.  This was the first time I've ever done this.  Benefit Street must be one of the loveliest streets in all of Providence.  It is full of many different architectural styles but most notable for its 18th century homes.  Also from Benefit Street I caught a glimpse of the First Baptist Church of Providence which was founded by Roger Williams in 1638.  The current church building dates to 1775.

The next time you find yourself in Providence be sure to reserve some time to walk along Benefit Street.  Here's a sample of what you will see.

Friday, September 17, 2010

19th Century Panoramic Maps Online

Maps are some of the best resources for house researchers when other documentation is lacking.  A land ownership map can show you who was living in your home at a particular time.  Conversely, if you find a map and your house is missing then you know it didn't exist before that time.

The Library of Congress website has a superb collection of resources in its American Memory collection. There you will find a group of Panoramic maps.  They are also known as bird's eye view maps because they show a town from a close but elevated perspective.  Because the maps are two-dimensional they really give a feel for what the town as a whole and individual buildings looked like.  These particular maps don't provide the home owner's names but if you know your house existed during a particular year it will give you a great feel for how it and the surrounding street looked. The maps are from the mid 18th century to the early 19th century.

You can search by keyword or browse by geographic location, subject, title or the creator of the map if you know the name.  You are able to zoom in and out of the maps for very fine detail.  You can even download them to your computer.

There are 29 maps for Maine; 28 for Vermont; 44 for New Hampshire; 119 for Massachusetts; 10 for Rhode Island and 60 for Connecticut.

Here are some highlights to get you started:

Detail of Kennebunk, Maine (1895) Library of Congress
East Haddam, CT (1880) 

Newport, RI (1878)

Amherst, MA (1886)

Ipswich, MA (1893)

Goffstown, NH (1887)

Bennington, VT (1887)

Kennebunk, ME (1895)

But don't think this map collection is limited to New England.  You will find panoramic maps for the whole United States.

So start exploring and see if you can find your town or house in this wonderful historic resource!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

House History Talk Tonight in Marion, MA

Need some help researching the history of your house? You're in luck! Stop by my talk tonight in Marion, MA. It is free and open to the public.

"Researching the History of Your House"

Presented by the Sippican Historical Society

Time: 7:00pm EST
Date: Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2010
Location: The Marion Music Hall, 164 Front Street, Marion, MA

See my website for my complete lecture schedule.

I hope to see you there!