Researching Your Home

AWTHS did an earlier blog and post on researching your home which included many tips and we encourage you to read the post. We wish to update this subject with some new information we’ve came across over this past year.

Several questions we are asked are: Who lived in my home or property prior to me? How do I find out the age of the house? What about the architecture details or styles? Do you have any old photos of my home?

These are all good questions and a place to start. We will address the age of your house. We do not really have records on each individual house in Arcanum or Southern Darke County. However, we can direct you to tax records at the Darke County Courthouse. In researching my own home, the records are vague and simply says early 1900’s home or age. Other places to look are architecture styles on-line or at preservation sites or living history museums or places. Look for similar features. Also check out FB page Preserving Ohio as well as other historical societies and similar sites and pages. Think like a detective and putting puzzle pieces together. AWTHS does have a binder on Farms which may contain some info from research we have conducted or donations by other researchers.

AWTHS does have some old photos in their collection and a few documents of older homes in town. Those are available to research during our open hours and an appointment is recommended as most of the info is on the laptop.

As far as finding out the past owners and names, that is where the deeds must be located. Once you obtain this info (see the next paragraphs) bring those names into AWTHS and we will check our database. Materials which may have info include the old newspapers, rural directories (country properties), and plat maps. We also have some notes Bill Gunder put together in the data base or laptop documents.

One addition we have on house research and deeds: AWTHS does not have deeds in our library. However, there are two options to research further. (1) we recommend checking or researching at Darke County Genealogy Department located at Garst Museum in Greenville. There is a admission fee for entrance into the facility as well as fees for them to do your research and make copies. Researchers may access their microfilm on your own as well. We recommend contacting them for further questions, hrs. etc. as well as what type and years of records they have. This is probably your best bet especially if you own property in the country, outside the village. I’ve found deeds for farms here on microfilm and the department has also researched farms for me as well. However, I had a number of the old deeds already and was looking for the missing years between owners.

(2) Records for deeds are at the recorders office at the county courthouse if you have the knowledge to use the system. If not, it was recommended to our researchers to work thru a attorney who can do deeds/title searches for your property. These are only suggestions and researchers need to do their homework checking with these departments and devise a plan that is workable for the researcher as well as the departments or organizations. Deed records may be searched at However, this may not go back far enough into the older records. Try looking here if you need a lot #.

There is some question of town verses country properties. That is an question to ask if researching at Darke County Genealogical Society (Garst).

We also have some lot number records at AWTHS from early 1860’s, maybe earlier. It corresponds with a name. The lots were re-numbered to add to the confusion. There is also early lot owners listed in the book “The Secret Town” by William Gunder which are for sale as well as available to view in AWTHS library.

In speaking with the village administrator, I learned the homes in Arcanum have a lot number. Check your deed or with the Darke County Auditor’s office if unknown. The more recent years and village records should match. However, going back further may be an issue as current lot numbers and old first assigned or renumbered lots numbers way back to not match. Therefore, you may not have the right property or name on the deed simply checking lot numbers in that manner. The village is trying to find records in their files. Please be patient as we all work thru the findings and until completed. Also we are looking for materials which match lot numbers to when the properties were assigned house numbers for mail. Presently, AWTHS has plat and Sanborn maps. The Sanborn are electronic copies but contain lot numbers and are for these years: 1895, 1901,1907,1914,1926,1951. These copies are courtesy of the Darke County Genealogical Society, thanks to Karen Besecker. You may obtain copies for yourself thru the Columbus Met. Library by requesting a library card and following their prompts.

Once you have the correct lot numbers thru the years you are looking for, to find out the list of names or owners, you would still need to obtain those records probably from the recorders office by looking at time frames than names.

As you can see, it is somewhat complicated and lengthy process. But these are the departments and tips to check and work thru. We found the early lots were renumbered around 1869 and mailbox numbers or street addresses were assigned around 1919. Per The Secret Town book and Arcanum Business book.

If you come into AWTHS to view the Sanborn maps you must have an appointment as these records are on the laptop. Please indicate so when scheduling.

Last, please send a copy of your research on your property to AWTHS for our reference file. This may assist others in their search in the future.

The Research Library is open to the public and their is no admission fee; however donations are certainly welcome and encouraged to AWTHS.

AWTHS blog material is copyrighted and credit needs to be applied to the writers and contents therein.

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