New site allows millions chance to explore the past, share the present

Beta launched in the summer of 2010, became fully operational recently. I heard about this on the radio a few days ago, and thought it sounded pretty interesting. For history buffs, it definitely is.

The way it works: Users from around the world can “pin” photos directly to the Historypin map. Currently, there are more than 60,000 photos, videos, audio and stories cataloged on the site. Because Historypin is in partnership with Google, according to its site, “some of these images — if they are taken outdoors, at street level and at certain angles, will be able to be layered onto Street View (this is a bonus, not a requirement).”

This morning — using the site’s search engine —  I just found some great pictures of Bellingham, Wash. from many years ago. Not a ton to choose from, but interesting nonetheless. For home historians, it’s an easy way to see how areas and neighborhoods once looked. As its popularity grows, the experience should only get better.

The organization describes its ambitious mission this way:

“Historypin is a way for millions of people to come together, from across different generations, cultures and places, to share small glimpses of the past and to build up the huge story of human history. Everyone has history to share: whether its sitting in yellowed albums in the attic, collected in piles of crackly tapes, conserved in the 1000s of archives all over the world or passed down in memories and old stories. Each of these pieces of history finds a home on Historypin, where everyone has the chance to see it, add to it, learn from it, debate it and use it to build up a more complete understanding of the world.”

I think the best way to explain the site is through its video. Check it out. I think it’s a fascinating idea — so I look forward to seeing it grow. Could become a great tool for home genealogists.

Why research your house history?

Before everything else, house history research (or home genealogy) is meant to be fun. For most people, learning about who lived in their home is a pretty fascinating thing. What renovations were made? What did they do for a living? When was the home built?

Today’s stories are tomorrow’s histories.









Additionally, capturing the story of who is living in your home now and what they are doing – that will prove to be a fascinating read for someone just 10 or 20 years in the future. The bottom line: start recording your home history today — before the stories you carry with you are lost.

After all, today’s stories are tomorrow’s histories.

For more information on what kinds of stories to include in your home history research, try visiting the Houstory house history research and preservation pages.

Now – other reasons to research your home’s history…

Increases property value: According to The National Trust for Historic Preservation, preservation is a vital economic development tool. Historic preservation helps maintain – and in many cases increases – property values. The Home History Book™ archival journal was specifically designed to enable this preservation process. Using your Home History Book archival journal today can benefit you financially tomorrow.

Save the stories, preserve the worth: Typically, the more you know about something (like a home), the more apt you are to take care of it.

Heritage tourism benefits: Visitors spend billions of dollars visiting historic sites and cultural attractions, according to The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP). According to the ACHP, visitors to these places stay longer and spend more money than other kinds of tourists. A Home History Book archival journal is a living time capsule focused on sharing cultural and historic facts with its users and highlighting your property’s worth as an historic and cultural landmark.

Characters and lifestyles: Learn about people of differing time periods in their various roles, and how they relate to your own story.

Community connection: Discover the history of your city and community and how the areas were settled.

Evolution of a building’s purpose: Research into your home’s history can also help uncover clues that aid future construction considerations for your property and identifying unique construction features.

Lend your community a helping hand: Help your local municipality to participate in surveys and conduct inventories of buildings in the area, possibly for historical recognition with organizations such as the National Register of Historic Places.

Expert status as a home historian: Gather enough information, and you can provide a valuable history lesson in the form of a tour, book, blog, podcast, school project, Web site, magazine article, or donation of museum artifacts — the possibilities are numerous.

Inspire historical awareness: A compilation of historical data can inspire change and preservation in a community.

Protect the environment: Documentation of the landscape is crucial to owners interested in protecting property by donating a scenic easement.

For more information, please visit