By 1812Blockhouse, 1812AI

The streets and byways of Richland County are full of stories.

And, as the home of the Ohio Genealogical Society, the county has a distinct interest in its heritage and sharing those tales.

Many locals are interested in learning more about their own piece of County history. As the Executive Director of the Society recently shared in an OGS video, much of that research can be done from the comfort of your own home or office.

In a captivating webinar titled “Researching House Histories from the Comfort of Your Home,” Noel Poirier delved into the exciting world of uncovering the rich histories of houses through easily accessible online sources. The webinar, recorded for future reference, provided valuable insights into the tools and techniques available to explore the captivating stories of houses and the lives of the people who inhabited them.

Poirier, a passionate historian and resident from New Philadelphia, shared his personal journey of house history research, offering inspiration to viewers eager to embark on similar endeavors. Drawing from his experience working with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and his love for his community, Poirier demonstrated how a wealth of resources can be leveraged to unlock the hidden secrets of houses right from the comfort of one’s own home.

The webinar emphasized the significance of starting the research process with a library card, granting access to an abundance of online materials. Poirier highlighted the utility of maps and atlases, especially those from the 19th century, which provide valuable information about property ownership, house locations, and even surrounding gardens. By cross-referencing these historical maps with modern Google satellite images, researchers can gain insights into the evolution of houses over time.

One of the most valuable resources mentioned during the webinar was archive.org, a treasure trove of county histories, newspapers, and books. Poirier encouraged viewers to explore this online database, which offers a wealth of information crucial for piecing together the narratives of houses and the individuals associated with them. Additionally, he introduced the audience to aerial surveys available on archive.org, providing black and white photographs capturing the rural landscapes and houses from the mid-20th century onwards.

The webinar also delved into the significance of city directories, census records, and newspapers. These resources can shed light on house ownership, changes in property values, and even the construction dates of houses. However, Poirier emphasized the importance of exercising caution and cross-referencing information from multiple sources to ensure accuracy and avoid misleading details.

Throughout the presentation, Poirier shared captivating case studies, showcasing the practical application of the discussed research techniques. By following his footsteps, viewers could witness how seemingly ordinary houses can unveil extraordinary stories when approached with curiosity and dedication.

The webinar concluded with an invitation to explore Poirier’s website, where he has documented house histories from his community in Tuscarawas County. This online repository provides a glimpse into the fascinating work he has undertaken and serves as a valuable resource for aspiring researchers.

As the virtual event came to an end, attendees were left inspired and equipped with a new understanding of how to embark on their own journeys into house history research. With the power of online resources, library cards, and a historian’s curiosity, the hidden tales of houses can be unearthed, preserving the memories and legacies of the past for generations to come.

The OGS video can be viewed here.

Image by James Salazar from Pixabay

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