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!
Old Newspapers offer a wealth of info about neighborhoods, people, maybe even your specific address! Many are now word-searchable on-line.
Directories tell who lived at an address, their workplace, spouse, even sometimes their race.
Plat Maps show when and who developed a neighborhood, plus original names and arrangement of the streets.
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.
Permits show when construction was begun and by whom — both for the original structure and additions.
Some frequently asked questions:
- Where can I find old photos of my house or neighborhood?
- Does a written history of my neighborhood already exist?
- What books give an overview of Charlotte history?
- What can I find via maps and aerial photos? Via annexation records? Via school yearbooks?