House History - The Family Historian’s Viewpoint

Trace the People - Research the House
It's a two way streak, when you research a family, where they live is part of their history; likewise when you research a house the people that live there create part of the houses story. 
As part of Heritage New Zealand's seminars on Research Your House, I got the chance to give the perspective of the family historian. The talk covered a number of sources to find out information about your house by tracing the people that lived in the house. A handout can be downloaded from here.
As part of a team delivering the seminar's I didn't go into the land records that are available from Archives New Zealand. But there is some information about Historic Land Records on the LINZ website.
One of the tools I advocate for research is a timeline. This helps you to organise what you find about a house into chronological order. Download our Excel Timeline Template.
Think also about what you are leaving for your descendants that detail where you have lived. Keep some bills (a rates bill is especially good for tracing houses as it gives a land description) and other proof of where you have lived. Take photos of the inside of your house and the street that you live in. Sketch out floor plans if you don't have the official plans. Maybe even leave a little family history on the wall behind new wallpaper. We could even help you to put together a photo book of your families house history. 
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