Historic Research – Part 1

Posted by on Oct 28, 2011 in History | Comments Off on Historic Research – Part 1

In which we trace the sales history of the house back to 1898 and hit a dead end.

The first thing we did when researching the house was to go to the office of Mortgages and Conveyances and do a title search.  Each document of sale is recorded there and you can do an initial search on the computer which will lead you to a big bound book (like 2 feet x 2 feet and a good 8 inches thick bound in old board and leather) and you pull it out and find the document.  Then each document references the previous sale of the same property by folio and book number, so you go and pull out another 20 pound book and leaf through until you find yours and so on.

The books started out printed on computer from 1999 then rapidly into typewriter pages in the ’70s until we got all the way back to 1912 and finally 1898 when they were written by hand.  Little did we know we were only beginning to figure out how to read cursive 19th century script!

You can follow the trail back in the document below. Scroll down if you’re interested, each picture should be clickable to see the bigger version of the picture we took of the actual book.

The summary, though, is: we traced it back to the 70’s when Doctor Whittington III and his wife bought it (when it also seemed to almost double in value over 3 years for some reason), back to the Bergerons in the 40’s and Mr. Boyd, the Moroy/Thibodeaux family in the 20’s back to Harry Grim who bought it from Herman Levy in 1912 for $6,000.  The problem is that the 1912 entry referenced an entry from 1898 but it was not the same house or the same person.

We paged through the whole 1898 book and also paged through some 1902 pages looking for the property but couldn’t find it.  For the moment, our trail had run cold and we had no idea how old the house was.

  • The realtor had said 1890’s because the floor boards were even in width.
  • The chandelier appraiser had said 1860’s – 1870’s because that’s how old the chandeliers were (originally gasoliers later wired for electricity).
  • The house inspector said 1850’s – 1860’s because he had been under the house and looked at the structure and he was sure that’s how it was done then.

Strangely enough it would turn out that they may all be right in some way.

To be continued…

At 1912 the train ran cold...