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Friday, February 1, 2013

I Want to Find Information About My House

"I recently purchased a home in the city of Newton Falls.  It is over 100 years old and I'm trying to find more information about it. Does the library have anything that can help me?" The Newton Falls Public Library staff has several resources for assisting patrons with a question such as this one.

The first is the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps. These are large scale street plans produced by the Sanborn Fire Insurance company from 1867 to 1970.  They may be accessed for free through the library's website,  Once there, select Ohio Web Library, then Resources.  The maps are in the subject category Genealogy. Below the list of recent submissions, there is the option of searching within this historic map database.  Typing in the street address and Newton Falls, we found maps back to March of 1889. A great deal of interesting information can be gleaned about the city over the years, such as there was a well and pump at the intersection of Broad and Canal Streets. A notation on the August 1908 map, by the Klingensmith Bro's Flour Mill, says that the mill is to be moved that year from its site by the W. Branch of the Mahoning River.  It is to be replaced by a fire proof electric power plant of the Peerless Electric Co. Sometimes there is information about the materials used in the construction of the buildings or if there was a night watchman. Looking at the maps over the years, it is also possible to see when additions or changes were made to buildings. Viewing these maps, our patron was able to see how her home had changed over the years.

We next viewed the Trumbull County Auditor's property search site. This website includes useful information about some past sales of the property, improvements, and a sketch with construction information.

The library's Local History Room has city directories from 1963 to present which are useful for tracing ownership of houses. The collection of old photographs may also be examined to see older views of some of the homes in the community. 

There is also available a copy of the 1856 map of Trumbull County, Ohio.  Homes are marked on the map, along with the names of the property owners. While the  Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps only include homes within the city limits, this map includes township homes.  The map may be viewed by going to the library's website, selecting Local History and then 1856 Trumbull County Map.

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