Genealogy of a House


Welcome back to the next session of the
North Carolina Virtual Family History Fair for this session we’re going to be
talking about the genealogy of a house and/or researching the history of your
house. Our presenters are three members of the North Carolina State Historic
Preservation Office Michael Southern an architectural
historian and GIS or Computer Mapping and Database Coordinator. With me is
Claudia Brown who is supervisor of the National Register and Survey and
National Register Branch and Mitch Wilds who is a supervisor of the Restoration
Services Branch. We’re going to be covering three basic areas in
researching the history of your house. I’m going to be discussing how you can
determine what kind of information if anything at all has been previously
collected about your house and Claudia will talk about conducting
original research with real estate records deeds city directories Sandborn
Maps and other sources and Mitch will be talking about what the building itself
tells you about its period of construction later alterations and so
forth through architectural analysis. The first thing you might do is to determine what anything at all has ever been a previous and any informations
have been previously collected about your house has it been surveyed and an
architectural field surveyed and photographed or researched it any way in
the past is there a file for the house or its neighborhood at the State
Historic Preservation Office might it be listed in the National Register of
Historic Places or in a National Register historic district or could it
be in a locally designated landmark or within a local historic district
and has it been covered in any sort of architectural survey publication the
answer to most of these questions are online. The online sources are HPO Web
that’s a web map service our offices are developed off of the statewide historic
building survey National Register of Historic Places nominations which are
online and paper sources that may have information the files of the State
Historic Preservation Office and published architectural surveys I’m
going to be first looking at some online resources and we’re going to do these
first with screen captures if there’s time after I go through that
we’ll do a quick live demonstration of some of these features our starting
point is the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office homepage
you can just google a North Carolina Preservation Office and probably find
that at the top its and you see the address there, hpo.ncdcr.gov.
The places we’re going to be looking at are the online I see I have to use my
thing (mouse) here I’m one of the first site going to go to is the HPO web which is
the online historic mapping service down here among the features on the homepage
when you first open it you’ll see the splash screen and there are some a
couple of things to note there’s a tutorial tab up here if you want some
help as you as you look for it there is a somehow I move forward and I didn’t
want to and if when you’re ready to start the search down here at the bottom
you’ll see of the agree button which means you agree to the Terms of Service
though it doesn’t does not require a password or any sort of logon. The site
may appear to be bewildering at first there are over a hundred thousand points
of surveyed properties twenty-four hundred individual listings in the
National Register of Historic Places and 570 National Register districts some of
which contain many hundreds of properties as well as local landmarks
local districts and other types of historic designations we won’t
have time to get into if you’ve used Google Maps before you’ll find the
navigation bar over on the Left will probably be familiar it’s very similar you
can now scroll with your mouse to zoom in and out. I am going to zoom in on one North
Carolina town, Louisburg which is a good representative of most North Carolina towns
have some sort of National Register District at the core an older
neighborhood the old commercial area in that sort of area and this map will very
quickly show you the boundaries of those areas there is a a legend tab at the top
which will show you what all these colors mean the only one I’m going to
point out now is the blue boundary line indicates the boundary of a National
Register district or property and a blue dot indicates a place that’s listed in
the National Register individually one of the features you’ll notice there a
couple of tabs in the upper right that are very useful one is HPO data layers
which includes each of the different types of historic designations you can
turn on and off to simplify the screen and there’s another one with a number of
different backgrounds what I’m going to do is cut off boundary shading because
that enables us when we look at aerial backgrounds to see what we’re looking at
there’s also a there’s an address tool at the top where you that you can click
enter the address of any place in the state for that matter of the United
States and it should zoom you straight to the location within a map I’ve
entered I think 104 Sunset Avenue Louisburg, North Carolina which happens
to be Mitch’s house and and then I’m going to zoom in to it I can see its
location a little better I’m not sure exactly which of those surveyed points
which you see at this point labels open up they indicate they show the name of
the property but I click on the Winston Allen House and I find to see that it
is indeed at 104 Sunset Avenue. One of the options
in the background options in the upper upper right is most recent aerial view
and there are other older aerial views you can see as well as different kinds
of map backgrounds you can look this is a high resolution aerial map and we can
see now we can see the property from the air and you can zoom in pretty too close
it also has a street view tool up on the top bar there that’s highlighted and
there you can if you select you’ve got a couple of choices for how to view the
results we’re going to look in a new browser window and click on the street
in front of the house you want to look at and this screen pops up with a map a
street a street view shot and another aerial you can cut off the aerial of the
map to see a good image of the house you can this is very good images in many
places Street View is not universal not everywhere but it’s in most towns major
streets and most towns and with the using the navigation tools and Google in
Street View you can actually walk up and down the streets and a historic district
and look at all see all manner of things you by clicking within the boundary of a
National Register historic district or actually on any of these points of an
information window will pop up for places listed in the National Register
you’ll see there’s a link to the National Register nomination online
which you can click on it will open a PDF of the nomination this is a
Louisburg Historic District in which Mitch’s house is located it’s a hundred
and sixty-one pages it would take you a long time to kind of scroll through
looking to see what it says about the house but you can search keywords and
I’ve entered the address up there and in the text search and it takes me to the page 58 where there is a description
of the house not every National Register District is going to have this this much
description and also historical background information as this does what
the National Register District nomination may be both most helpful for
is kind of getting a general background of the development of the town or the
neighborhood and kind of giving a historical and architectural context for
your house within that neighborhood other features if you happen to already
know that your properties in the National Register you can go you can
click on the National Register icon on the home page you’ll see one of the
options to go to a list of National Register listings you can search by county all three thousand North Carolina National Register listings are on this
page you can link to the PDF of the nomination and you can link to the to
the map location of that in our HPO web which we have we’ve just been looking at
there’s also a keyword research search tool across all three thousand
nominations where you can enter a keyword and the results will pop up
every nomination where that occurs obviously if you’re looking on a common
word or name you’re going to find many you get you will get many many hits I’ve
entered the the surname whose or Houser and I search on that among nominations
and I see I get 41 results where the name appears within National Register
nominations and you can open each one up and then use keyword search within the
nomination to see where it’s appears in the text the not everything is listed in
the National Register of course another source of our published architectural
surveys over 50 counties in North Carolina over
the past 40 years have had historic architectural surveys published and
about 50 or more of municipalities and published surveys separately these are
not online and many are long out of print and would be hard to find you can
find them through old booksellers sometimes and our list
indicates whether or not they may be of available and what the source is and we
look in Franklin County and we see there is indeed a book about the historic
district of Louisburg that includes Mitch’s house and an older photograph
taken back in the 80s when the book was published but there are many
many places that are not in the National Register that are covered in these
County survey publications Wake County for example is one of over 50 counties
where many modest form houses and other buildings are included where you can
like find a little bit of published information about your property but
regardless of whether it’s in the National Register and a book if there is
a point for your house or your neighborhood an HPO web there will be a
backup file for it at the State Historic Preservation Office in Raleigh or in the
Western field office in Asheville we maintained there are over a hundred
thousand site files with photographs going back almost 50 years now of some
places and there are many other of any of the other resources some some files
may actually have documentary photographs even predating the
actual survey files include old fuel notes correspondence with property
owners research notes and proofs of old photographs taken in years past if you
live in the western part of the state the blue area here you
contact Annie McDonald in the Western office for an opportunity to see the
file in the for the rest of the state contact Chandrea Burch you do need
to make an appointment in either case to be able to to be in to come in and take
a look at the files that is I think I’ve got about five minutes I’m going to
convert to a live demonstration here if I can this is our website is slightly
out of kilter but the central group is supposed to be centered here but we
won’t worry about that I’m going to click on the link to HPO web and hope it
opens and it does that’s the splash screen I told you about the tutorial tab up
that way I’m going to agree to to the terms of viewing the site there are all
those points I can I just doesn’t have a spinner on it but I’m going to use the
address tool here look up a property in this case if I can if my all thumbs scan
will work on this is my own property 1819 I can’t read I’m not familiar with the I’m gonna have
to use this tab here if I can okay well
yep I’m just gonna start over again and I’ll still have time to do it
I think there’s the and well I’m having some
technical difficulty with this I don’t see clear you know one of the address you can
enter coordinates and do other things too but it’s let me try the address one
more time okay and what I wanted to do was backspace because it was 1819 1819 White Oak Road Raleigh and see and
see if it’ll locate it it does I’m not sure how to scroll in I will have to use
the button here because I don’t have a scrolling Mouse you see it in this case
there is a point there but it’s not a point from my house it’s for a group of
houses we’re going to change the background view to to the most recent
aerial which and there it is and I’m also going to cut off the boundary
shading to we can see see the aerial better that’s my house and then I’m
going to bring the street view tool down and I’m going to open it and a new
browser window because that’ll give us a better view and click here in front of
my house and there’s the street I don’t know how well I can without them out
there you go there’s my house the two-story one that needs painting and we
can cut off it’s going wild here but here are the tools you can with the
browsing tool you can actually wander around any historic district in North
Carolina okay this is stopped working I’m going to shut off the aerial view
and the and the map view and we get if I could scroll but you can’t do we could
kind of move in closer but anyway that’s an example of how you can just drop into
any historic district in North Carolina and and take a little walking tour open
National Register nominations read about the districts and the properties but I’m
going to end there is my twenty minutes are almost up and and we’ll return to Claudia good afternoon my career in
preservation started a long time ago and initially I was an independent
consultant doing county and municipal architectural surveys and preparing
National Register nominations of which entailed a good bit of in-depth research
but since joining the State Historic Preservation Office staff in the late
1980s I’ve mostly been guiding consultants and the general public and
doing their research their historic preservation projects so I have been
doing a whole lot of my own research but the basics haven’t changed much of
course the big change is that is the digital world and that’s a great
advantage because now so many of the resources that we need to do our work
are online so as I said much of my work is assisting the public and this is a
question I often get I get a phone call from the territory I cover and
somebody tells me that he or she has just purchased the house and you know
hey I hear its historic so how do I find out when it was built and who built it
so Michael has already talked to you about the resources that our our office offers
our architectural survey files and our publications National Register
nominations HPO web and I’m going to talk about using real estate records
city directories and touch on title searches a little bit and also the use
of Sanborn and other types of historic maps so you might think that a title
search would be the first option where you should start but really these other
resources are I think a better place to start they’re an easy way to find quite
a bit of information about a property so I’m going to start with real estate
records and in most counties they’re online so the information in some of the
records some counties records is rather limited but in the larger counties such
as Wake County there’s really quite a bit of data so what I would do is I
would go to my browser and I would search on Wake County real estate
records and probably the first thing that would
come up in the list of sites is the one that takes you to the county’s actual
website and click on that and you’ll go to this Wake County real estate data
site so I’m going to search for my house and you’ll see there are a number of
options you can if you know the owner’s name or you know the pin for the
property the property identification number I’m going to do a simple by the
simplest way is just putting in the address so I’ve put in 309 Calvin and
then this is the first page that comes up I stuck in the screenshot from Google
Street View of the house that doesn’t come up automatically in this initial
page but if you look at it closely you’ll see that there’s a lot of
information on this page and including the date the house was constructed
there’s also a date for some major renovations it tells the number of rooms
and the tells well gives that this initial page gives the property value at
all so there’s also a tool bar near the top
of the page and one of the items on that toolbar is buildings so I’m going to
click on buildings and this page comes up and here’s where you get more of the
data on the about the construction about the actual building here’s where you see
the the year it was built and then there’s also a year for some major
modifications to the house there is a building footprint and there is the
latest photo that was taken by the city I think probably for the last property
reevaluation it also tells the number of rooms and some other data usually the
state of real estate records are pretty accurate at least in Wake County for
properties built after 1900 in some of the rural more rural counties actually
for rural properties I’ve found that you often times can get pretty accurate dates
for nineteenth-century properties and I think that’s probably because the
property owners or local historians have provided that information to the
county so there’s also a tab up there on the toolbar for deeds and when I click
on this you’ll see the list of deeds going back to 1946 and the most recent
sale is at the top that’s when my husband and I bought the property 1988
and then there are a couple of other deeds there so the previous owner I knew
Edna Smith we bought the house from her she lived she moved to a property right
down the street so I was very fortunate I had an opportunity to talk to her so I
got some information more information about the house and so another before I
continue talking about the deeds I’m just going to show you one other tab if
you click on the map it takes you to the county’s GIS site it will zoom in on the
property it will show you the building footprints and then there’s also a whole
bar of information sidebar over there to the right with a lot of the information
that was on that real estate records page so I want to start doing some
research and I’m not going to start with the deeds I’m going to go from the real
estate records I’m going to use the city directories I’m going to try to find out
some more information about the people who lived in this house before we bought
it so in my browser i just googled raleigh city directory city directories
and the first page that came up first listing i clicked on and if you look at
the lower left that’s the page that came up for the Raleigh city directories or
for the state’s North Carolina city directories rather and then I scrolled
down and I clicked on Raleigh and the screen the large screen to the right
came up and it shows all of the city directories that have been digitized so if you remember back on that real
estate records page there was the the first the oldest deed that was shown was
for 1946 and it was Virginia Smith and looking at the real estate records there
was no in the city directories rather there was no city directory for 1947
usually the city directories lagged for about a year they gathered the
information say in 1946 it doesn’t appear until the 1947 city directory the
47 directory wasn’t available so I looked in 1948 and at the back of the
directory there is a street index and in the image to the left was the page with
Calvin Road on it and zoom in the little section that I circled you’ll see Calvin
Road and it’s 309 Calvin Road and it lists Joseph Smith well it’s a Smith so
from here I went to the alphabetical entries the property owner’s names and I
searched Joseph Smith and there you see the blow-up on the right Joseph Smith it
turns out his wife was Virginia Smith so the property was in her name and it
gives you a little bit of information it indicates that there owner-occupants it
tells you what his career was he was a traffic manager I think that’s a
southern I think was a Southern Telephone and Telegraph Company a
precursor to Southern Bell Southern Bell Telephone & Telegraph Company so then I
wanted to go backwards search backwards in the city directories and you can
maybe a good way to do it is if you want to see all the people who lived in the
property go back say in five year increments but I went back to the 1920s
because remember in the real estate records it said that the house
built in 1927 so I looked at the 1928 directory and I went to the street index
and I found 309 Calvin and in the blow up you’ll see that it was a TL Creekmore
who was living here and I went to the alphabetical index by his name and I
found the entry for him and tells you this has quite a bit more information
about him so then I went back and I looked at a few immediately previous
directories and I found that Calvin Road wasn’t listed prior to 1925 so I found
in 1925 Creekmore was still listed at 309 Calvin but there weren’t any entries
in the street index for Calvin Road prior to 25 I looked him up in the
23 and 1924 alphabetical name entries and I found that in 24 he was living on
Hillsborough Street well of course deeds are among the best original sources to
search. An entire workshop could be devoted just to doing deed research but
for the purposes today I’m going to show you how you can start here with the real
estate records and then do your own deed research or title search from the
comfort of your home so back on that deeds page for my house the oldest deed
was the 1946 deed and it has the book and page number so then I went to the
Register of Deeds website and I’ve listed it here, www.wake/gov/com/rod
and this is the first page that comes up and the lower-right I went to the
Register of Deeds site I selected the type of document that I wanted and and the page to the right the screen to
the right and I entered deed in the top field and then I had the book and page
number so that’s what I entered down towards the bottom book and page and
then when I searched on that the screen that appeared is at the lower left and
from there you’ll see you could there’s a you can click on the PDF of the actual
deed and I did that and this is part of the screen that came up so this is the deed
this is when Virginia Smith acquired the property from there I went back to the
deed page the search and I kept going back and eventually I found that this
property had been acquired by a man named AJ Maxwell and when I searched on
him this page came up and you’ll see that he acquired a lot of property there
numerous entries for AJ Maxwell so I opened each of them took a look and it
turns out that the property that the deed or the entry that was the most
fruitful that I’ve indicated with the red arrow was the one that he got from
the Bank and Trust Company so when I opened that I look at the deed
and I found that this was 1924 he acquired the property and I found the
lot and of course I knew the lot the block and lot number from the earlier
deeds that initial deed that showed Virginia Smith acquiring it and there
are no no improvements cited so we can be pretty sure that this was simply a
lot that the Creekmores were purchasing from the trust from the bank Bank and
Trust Company so I can conclude that it was the Creekmores who built the house in 1924 to 1925 as suggested by the city
directories so when looking at primary sources don’t overlook records with the
clerk of court either such as a state or probate records earliest state records
could have property maps and indicate the location of the property they might
have footprints of buildings and they sometimes have inventories of rooms and
you could match up the number of rooms with the building that you’re
researching so maps can be very useful particularly the Sanborn fire insurance
maps these are maps Sanborn Map Company still exists based in I
think they’re still in Poughkeepsie New York and they would produce they would
be hired either by [same] municipalities or maybe insurance companies to produce
maps for cities periodically they’re not done every year but these maps as you’ll
see in a minute show the footprints of the buildings and they’re also coded
there’s a code on each property that gives you information about the
construction material the number of stories of the house and and other
details about the actual structure so I’m going to use our previous office at
515 North Blount Street as an example this house happens have been built in
1859 in order to do this particular search you’d have to know that this
house was moved in the late 1970s from its original site on the east side of
North Wilmington Street where it was number 529 and I’ve circled it it’s
circled in that section of the Sanborn map that you see on the right as I said
these maps weren’t issued every year it’s someone have to would have to
Commission them but they can be very useful to ID a period of construction
for example the building might appear in one series say
1898 series for Raleigh doesn’t appear in that but then it
appeared in the 1903 series so you can assume you could assume that it was
built say around circa 1900 that isn’t the case for this particular property
this property we know is built in 1859 but I’m going to show you some changes
if you look at the property as it’s shown in 1903 it was a two-story frame
dwelling you can see the porch is the dotted front and back porches are
indicated by the dotted line so it’s a two-story porch on the front facing
Wilmington street and on the back there was a one-story porch across the entire
rear but by 1909 part of that rear porch has been enclosed and then if you skip
ahead to 1914 you can see that the rest of the one-story porch on the rear has
been enclosed and also a one-story rail has been built and if I jump back the
1909 map also showed that a two-story Bay had been added to the south side of
the main block of a house so skipping ahead to 1914 again we see that in the
main block of the house there are now two side Bay’s of two storeys and that
there had been a number of additions a changes to the rear of the building in
1950 it still looks pretty much the same so there are also a number of books that
might be useful I’ve shown you just a few house histories was published in
1989 it focuses on both architectural fabric that mitch is going to talk about
and also written and graphic records discovering the history of your house
published in 2002 focuses on research and the table of contents suggests that
this book might be sort of chatty and then how do you research your house
shown on the right published into SEP 2007 it has a little bit on the fabric
of the buildings mostly it deals with research it has a scholarly approach
this book was published in England so some of the material might be relevant
to the unite States so I’ll make the point and
actually stated in the chapter heading of the book that was written by Betsy
Green there in the middle but just because it’s written down doesn’t mean
it’s true so figuring out the history of the
building really requires quite a bit of sleuthing and analysis and it really
could be described as putting together numerous puzzle pieces and one of those
pieces has to do with researching studying the actual fabric of the
structure and that’s what mitch is going to talk about thank you I’m at wilds and
I am as Michael said I’m the head of the restoration services branch with the
State Historic Preservation Office and like Claudia said I’ll be looking at the
fabric of your house itself so there really are no digital resources you
would have to get down and get dirty underneath your house or in your attic
but your house is really a member of your family I think that so many things
occur within the house that it really does qualify as a member of your family
so you need to listen to it and get to know it I’m here three houses all here
in North Carolina all distinctly different and they kind of introduce
what I’m going to be giving an overview of and that’s kind of the changing in
technology and how that helps to date a house I think probably most folks would
think that this house would be the earliest of those three and that would
be correct and virtually all of the fabric in this house is handcrafted the
boards are hand hewn siding boards their hand dressed all the trim is hand molded
then we move up about 80 years to say 1870s and we have the second empire
house and decidedly different simply because of its design but also because
of its materials and at this point we’re getting a lot of machine-made materials
especially with trim more national designs are coming into play but
still you still got a lot of handcrafted material within the house even the
latter part of the 19th century and then moving on up we get the house of the 50s
the kind of minimal house everything is machine made everything is all the
materials are made in larger factories and whatnot and even in the 50s you get
a house like this Lester own house where the house every
component is may was made in a factory and sent on trucks to the site where it
was assembled much like a an erector set if if anyone out there remembers the
erector sets with little screws and metal pieces but the changing and
technology can be linked and also kind of goes hand in hand with kind of the
evolution of a house here we have a house which is pre decidedly built in
two stages you’ve got the right side which is a late 18th century farmhouse
to which this large addition of an overwhelming addition of the mid 19th
century it’s been added so that really helps to start to understand houses how
they evolved something more modest is the rear of this house where they’re the
two vertical boards in the center of this back wall probably the first one
was the original corner of the house and it had would have had a rear porch which
at some point was enclosed and then there was another room added on to the
end of it these are kind of things that might get picked up in Sanborn maps like
Claudia was referring to but a lot of it also has to do with understanding the
physical evidence there there are also additions on buildings that are readily
understandable straight away this is obviously built into periods in the
1920s or 30s stone house on the left to which a modern addition was built is
art gallery on during the 1980s if you’re really lucky you’re going to go
down your basement you’re gonna find all these rolls of blueprints and
architectural plans that will show all the changes to your building will show
when it was built when the changes were made but for most of us that doesn’t
occur and we have to look at the buildings themselves so if you look at
the differences between the one on the left is a late 18th century house and
the one on the right to Victorian house they all have windows they all have
chimneys they’ll have porches but if you start to look at some of the details and
just as an example of the windows the windows on the left or multi-pane nine
over nine windows the window glass is very much smaller than the one on the
right which is from a late 19th century house one of the reasons for that is
because of technology and how technology has moved from handcrafted like I said
to more machine made isms and drawings of how early window glass was made it
was hand-blown spun into a disk and then that disk was cut into panes and that’s
one of the reasons why you get these you know wonderful characteristic swirls and
whatnot on these early windows something that is worthy of preserving in its own
right the glassblowing is no longer done by
hand it’s done in these big factories this is a Pilkington Factory and it
starts with raw materials and ends up being put in a truck and shipped off and
so this is allowed buildings like this the glass house to be built with large
sheets of glass so you’d see how technology has really changed the
evolution of house design and house construction and that’s the case not
only with things such as glass but timber most North Carolinas are timber
framed and we move the in how the Timbers produced the
changes from being handmade this is hand hearing a timber these Timbers have the
characteristic hand plane I mean hand ax marks on them easily to identify but
also the changing in technology then moves into a more machine
well actually we continue to do hand-sewn boards and whatnot by having
two men one at the top of the beam when at the bottom using a handsaw this would
be a pit saw situation the term you’re in the pits
refers to the guy at the bottom who is getting his face full of sawdust with
every thrust you know with every song um but what it does is it does give a very
characteristic sell mark on the wood that can be identified as you study your
house and this is a pit saw marks they are more or less vertical but they’re
kind of jumbled and not well organized because of the way that the saw was
taken up and down kind of the next step in the evolution of wood technology
would be the introduction of sash saw or water-powered so we’ve got a mechanized
system of sawing the wood we’ve got the vertical up and down saw blades and as
that cuts the wood it leaves a very characteristic very regularly spaced
parallel saw marks it perpendicular to the grain of the wood characteristic of first half of the 19th
century for the introduction of the circular saw blade which we’re all
familiar with and it was used for cutting logs into boards one at a time
and it they just kind of this an arcing saw blade mark these saw marks come from
when a tooth of the saw was slightly out of line and so you get an extra scribing
onto the or so it’s not as straight it’s not para
it’s not perpendicular to the wood but it releases arc um another thing which
is it’s not only large pieces of wood to have the saw marks this is smaller
pieces of wood and in your house the plaster lath which is put on the walls
before the plaster is applied and here in the upper picture it’s a hand split
left in the lower picture it’s song laughs so you easily determined that the
the hand spit lath is an earlier product in the song laughs this is an example of
a house in Greensboro where the left side his hand split laughs and the right
side is song laughs and this is actually taken from weather when the weather
board was taken off the inside was all plastered but this gives good indication
that there was a change made because of the difference different kinds of laughs
that is used as it turns out the song laughed was used to infill a former door
opening if you got wood you got have nails nails have changed again moving
from hand made to machine made the rock Nell’s generally went through eighteen
teens until there was a machine cut now and then the the wire nail that we all
know from hardware stores this is a range of nails from a house it was built
in the 1790s and it ranges includes a lot of the hand wrought nails but also
the cut nails which can be used to determine when changes were made within
the house hand wrought nails are identified generally at the point either
a it comes down to a tapered point on all four sides or sometimes like in the
left nail there it’s a spoon tip again these are made by hand
blacksmiths or Nagler nigga Reez make these you had a wide variety specialized
use for nails then we move into the cut nails a
machine cut nail which is generally it’s a plate is fed through the machine and
so you get parallel sides they’re very regular and they were in vogue really
for everything until it’s about the turn of the 20th century and then we have the
machine made wire nails which once every one is for me with with buying it
big-box stores or Chur local hardware store or if you’re really want to you
can buy nail making machines shipped from China for a little over five
thousand dollars and make your own nails screw the same way that’s very good
dating point in screws because they moved from the flat tip screws in
eighteen to the pointed screws in mid 1840s this Chuck change of technology is
highly dateable and if you know that the hinges in your house have never been
taken part then you can back out a screw and see if it’s pointed or flat and that
helps to date your house variety of pointed screws and also hardware it’s
very readily identifiable as either handmade or machine made here’s some
blacksmith piece of hardware from a door and you move on to a more of a
industrialized cast iron hinges another change kind of a bigger change it’s
really how the house is assembled in itself going from a heavy post-and-beam
frame house with large members all members are mortise Intendant in pegs
are used large members and then used really through the first half of the
19th century and which introduced balloon framing where you have more
slender members really on a two-story house they run all the way from the
bottom from the first floor up to the Rufe so you have very long pieces of
lumber very thin too how we are framing houses these days which is kind of
floor-by-floor even here you see a big apartment house being framed up that’s
five or six floors and they had move up one floor at a time
short Timbers very densely packed bricks the same way it’s important to look at
the brick bonding pattern whether or not the bricks are handmade look at details
shoulders is it a step shoulders at a flat
shoulder bond patterns this is really just an overview for for things to be
aware and look at got the obvious changes a plaster wall was taken down
where the fireplace was and lo and behold the larger fireplace had been in
filled with a smaller fireplace same thing we’re looking for ghost marks of
missing pieces here’s some rafters where collar ties have been taken out changes
occurred the concert to conclude as far as the new kind of a cool example this
is a house in Edenton the owners had bought it just turned into a rental
house everyone thought it was maybe a late 19th century tenant house in a head
no tongue-in-groove siding and 10 groove board on the walls while they were
preparing just to rehab it as a rental property they realized that lurking
beneath Victorian boards was something rather extraordinary and it was a heavy
timbered house with fine details on the joists wrought nails throughout once all
the owners were great because they said well that’s cool let’s take all the
stuff out so so what was revealed was a framed house that had been was very
early in Edenton research showed that it was you know could be earlier than
anyone had imagined it had details like this of bracket brace included and the decision
was made to go with what’s the most probably the most precise dating methods
for house and that is to count tree rings which we all do when we were kids
in this instance you’re looking at the tree rings within a structural member of
the house and so a core is drilled out and it has to include that outside edge
the last growth rings to be of any value and it’s cored out taken out and someone
more knowledgeable than me looks at the Rings and lines them up with a master
known sample and in this case it was concluded that the main structural
members of this house were felled in 1718 1719 which made this house this
little house in Edenton the the oldest dated house in North Carolina or the
newest oldest houses I like a good thing to take a look at you could Google is
the National Park Service has put together great series of technical
briefs on preservation one of them preservation brief 35 which you can
google it’s about understanding old buildings and the process of
architectural investigation so if you talk to your house they can teach you
things and it will be happy that you care its houses they’re incredible
things so take care of yours so thank you I think that concludes our
presentations we may have a few minutes for questions and be sure to do the
Survey Monkey files let us know how we do okay we do have a question from one
of our viewers Jim asks in searching on these sites what address do you use
for an old property that has had a root number in the past and in the last 30
years has been changed to a street address the properties in a rural area
what do you guys think well I think the modern address which should work using
our street tool that’s you know this is entirely modern modern system so I think
entering the the the the new street address with house number should you
know should go to that property now if it’s if it’s a rural property it could
be several hundred acres so it may not be anywhere near the house you know but
it would at least get the property you know come close to it and in the tax
records you would or the writ local real estate records county real estate
records you’d you’d enter that what they call a nine one one number the street
number the current address okay great thanks a lot you you

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