How to Research Your Neighborhood

“Who lived in my house? When was my neighborhood built? Did history-makers live here?”

The Charlotte Neighborhood History Toolkit can help you answer those questions and more. The Toolkit offers tips on using Newspapers, City Directories, Plat Maps, Property Deeds and Building Permits to uncover the history around us.

Know your address? That’s a good starting point. Plug it into any of the resources below. Or if you know the name of a person or business, the Newspapers or City Directories may be the best place to start. There’s no right or wrong — dig in and explore!


Oaklawn photo

Click here to see a sample neighborhood history


Was my neighborhood advertised when new? Has my house or neighborhood been in the news?

Old Newspapers offer a wealth of info about neighborhoods, people, maybe even your specific address! Many are now word-searchable on-line.


Directory sample
Who lived in my house? Did they own this house? Where did they work? Who lived on my block? Did they live here a long time?

Directories tell who lived at an address, their workplace, spouse, even sometimes their race.

Plat sample
When was this neighborhood laid out? What streets were included? What was this neighborhood called?

Plat Maps show when and who developed a neighborhood, plus original names and arrangement of the streets.


Deed sample
Who owned this property? When did they buy it? Who did they buy it from? Were there restrictions on the use of this property?

A current Deed tells who owns the property, who they bought it from and when. From a current Deed you can find past Deeds, also the Plat Map that created the neighborhood, and sometimes Restrictions that shaped the neighborhood.


Permit sample
When was my house built? Who built my house? Were nearby houses built at the same time? Did one company build this neighborhood?

Permits show when construction was begun and by whom — both for the original structure and additions.


Some frequently asked questions: