researching the history of our semi-old home...

The house we purchased at the end of 2004, and moved into in June of 2005 is a house that was built in 1949 according to township records.

According to the township, this date is an estimate of when the house was built. I was told by a woman in assessing that on the oldest field sheet they have in our file, they have the house being built in 1949E. The “E” means the person their department talked to thought it was built in 1949. Another woman I spoke to at the township said that in the 70’s the township was trying to update their records, so they had employees going from house to house asking for the vital information. That is how they came up with the estimate.

All that is well and good, but one summer I was sitting on the patio and noticed something scraped into one of the bricks: 8/16/48. Does this mean it was built before 1949 or was this some sort of special date that one of the previous owners wanted to preserve in a brick?
The first time I went to the Historical Society to inquire about finding out about the history of the house was late 2005 to early 2006. I picked up their pamphlet that has all the suggestions on how to go about finding out this information. It seemed at that time, and still does, like a daunting task. Difficult to complete when you have a full time job and the places you need to get the information from are open only during regular working hours. You can try what you can on the internet, but really, you need to go to places like the county register of deeds & probate court.

So on Thursday, January 15, 2009, I followed the instructions in the RHS pamphlet. I got in touch with the Title Company that took care of our title when we purchased the house. I asked them if they do a “property abstract” and they told me they do not. I asked if they could give me a name of someone who does and she told me to contact other title companies. It’s just theirs that does not “get into that”.

I went on Google and searched for “property abstract Michigan”, and a website with a bunch of names of companies that do that sort of work came up. I picked the first one that was on the list. AAA Abstracting Services, LLC. The ad stated that they are a Title search company willing to go that extra mile for its customers. We service Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties Offering Abstracting, Document Recording and Retrieval Services. I spoke to Jack Gamble – I hope his last name isn’t an indicator as to what I’m up against.

I explained to him what I needed and why I wanted the information**. He told me that he could find out all the information for 60 bucks. Later he told me that if I wanted copies of all this stuff, it would be $1 a page. I asked him if it would be “hundreds” of pages. He told me that he would keep it affordable.

He told me he would start working on this information right away.

On Friday, January 16, I received a call from Jack stating that he was nearly finished but still needed to go to the County Register of Deeds to do the final research. However, he would not be able to do that on Monday because it is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and I mentioned that Tuesday might be a problem too, since it is inauguration day.

I’m waiting to hear back from him.
**what I need is the property abstract that lists all the previous owners of the property all the way back to the original owner. I would need the dates they owned the property. I would need the year the house was built and the builder. I would need proof of all of that information. Once I get the names of the people, I can do some research of my own as to who they were, what they did for a living, if there were any kinds of stories that went along with the people and the house. This should be the fun part.

The reason I want the information is so that I can apply for a historical plaque for the house and because I have volunteered for the 2009 Romeo Historical Christmas Home Tour and would like some information to tell the guests about the house.


Anonymous said…
very cool.............

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