Home History Book to be donated as prize during Connecticut house history workshop

Houstory is very proud to be a part of the festivities at an upcoming presentation/workshop by house historian Marian Pierre-Louis. Below is a press release outlining the event. Thank you, Marian, for all your help!

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Simsbury, Conn. — Houstory Publishing, LLC, publisher of the original Home History Book™ archival journal, an heirloom-quality house history book, will donate a copy of the book as a door prize during an upcoming May 1, 2012 talk by house historian Marian Pierre-Louis at the Simsbury Free Library. The book, which retails for $300, will be custom engraved for the winner.  Audience members will be able to use the research skills learned during the house history talk and then record the information they uncover in a book such as Houstory’s Home History Book.

Marian Pierre-Louis

Thanks to the program being offered by the Simsbury Free Library (SFL), Bob Maxon, weatherman for the local NBC affiliate has enlisted the help of house historian, lecturer, and writer Marian Pierre-Louis.  In a special evening event at the SFL on Tuesday, May 1, 2012, Pierre-Louis will use Maxon’s home to demonstrate how to conduct house history research, including where to find deeds, how to chain a deed, how to locate other sources of information such as US Federal Census records, as well as teach some tricks to help people get the most out of house history research.

The program begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by the presentation at 7:00 p.m.  Pre-registration is required.  Cost for the event is $5 for members; $10 for non-members.  Memberships are available for $20.  Call (860)-408-1336 or email simsburyfreelibrary@gmail.com to register.\

About Houstory Publishing, LLC

Believing that every house has a story, Houstory Publishing — started in 2007 by brothers Mike and Dan Hiestand — has designed its book to serve two important functions: First, it provides homeowners who wish to research the history of their home an attractive and lasting medium to record and share their findings with others. Second, it helps them document and record their own stories — their living history. This includes information about both the home’s physical structure and changes that may occur over the years and — perhaps more importantly — about their own family’s time in the home. It is this personal history — the stories of a family’s everyday life and/or significant events that occur while living in the home — that give a home its unique character and feel. Unlike a family’s personal scrapbook or photo album, the Home History Book is meant to stay with a house as a permanent record of its past history and present stories.

About the Simsbury Free Library

The Simsbury Free Library (the Simsbury Genealogical and Historical Research Library) opened on the second floor of the Hopmeadow District School in 1874.  In 1890, the Library’s collection was moved to its present location at 749 Hopmeadow Street in Simsbury.  Today the Simsbury Free Library (SFL) seeks to promote interest in genealogy and history by providing access to research material and expertise, artifacts, and educational and cultural programs.  It seeks to help patrons connect with the past and to learn from and be inspired by those who have gone before them.  The SFL provides a relaxed setting in which people can pursue family research history at their own pace.  For everyone from seasoned genealogy veterans to beginners, the SFL has the staff and resources necessary to help visitors develop the skills required to create family trees, search local histories, look up census records, explore vital records, etc.

The Simsbury Free Library – the Gracious Yellow Lady – is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and the second and fourth Saturdays of the month from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. as well as by appointment.  For more information, visit www.simsburyfreelibrary.org or call (860) 408-1336.

About Marian Pierre-Louis

Marian Pierre-Louis is a house historian, lecturer and writer.  Specializing in the histories of New England homes, she frequently speaks at libraries, societies, and conferences throughout New England on house history and genealogical topics.  She is the author of the popular blog, The New England House Historian (NEHouseHistorian.blogspot.com).  For more information about Pierre-Louis and her work, visit www.FieldstoneHistoricResearch.com.

StoryCorps: Every voice matters

By Dan Hiestand, Houstory Marketing Director

This week, we will briefly touch on the idea and importance of preserving stories today for future generations. This is really the heart of what Houstory is all about: recording and preserving those often small, everyday — but very much unique and important — stories that make up our lives. By doing so, you can help ensure your legacy can be shared with those who follow.

While, naturally, we think the Home History Book archival journal is a great way to do this — specifically regarding all the interesting stories that happen at home — it is by no means the only way.

For example, I recently started recording interviews with family members — specifically asking my mom and dad, as well as a few of my married brothers and their wives — to reflect on how they first met and eventually got together. My goal is to eventually put these audio stories  into a nicely produced and edited podcast so the family will always have them on which to look back.

Today, in that style of conversational historical preservation, I wanted to share one of my favorite resources and examples for effectively recording and preserving unique life stories and legacy: StoryCorps. I’m guessing if you are reading my blog, there is a good chance you’ve heard of this group, as it is quite popular.

As its Web site states: “StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 40,000 interviews from nearly 80,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress…We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, strengthen and build the connections between people, teach the value of listening, and weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that every life matters. At the same time, we will create an invaluable archive of American voices and wisdom for future generations.”

Yes, it is as fascinating as it sounds. In fact, I met a StoryCorps representative a few months ago in downtown Austin, Texas. She was was travelling around the country in the StoryCorps van, recording people in the different cities she visited. To say I was envious of her was an understatement. But I digress.

If you have not had a chance, head to the StoryCorps Web site and take a listen to a few of the great stories they have catalogued!

We’d love to know your thoughts! Let us know —what are your favorite resources for saving and sharing stories for future generations? Have you ever listened to StoryCorps, or participated with the group?

If you have knowledge in a topic our readers may be interested in — such as historical preservation, home genealogy or homes in general — and are interested in writing a guest column for us, please let us know! Contact us at info@homehistorybook.com.

Also please be sure to visit our Web site at www.homehistorybook.com

Top 10 Web sites for old house ‘DIYers’

This week, we borrow content from another house-themed blog — “The Craftsman: Writings for the Historic Home.” Author Scott Austin Sidler is the owner of Austin Home Restorations in Orlando, Fla.,

He recently put together a very nice piece on the “Best Web sites for Old House DIYers.” Even if you don’t own an old house, we recommend you take a look, as you can apply a lot of the themes that are touched on to any home.

Scott, who founded his company in 2010, has been around old houses for most of his life. He developed a fascination with them when his parents purchased a 1759 Colonial in downstate New York during his childhood.

As he states on his Web site, “The hand-hewn timbers, antique glass and overall sense of history intrigued him. The grandson of a painter, he began his first restoration in 2001 with a 1918 townhouse in Astoria, NY.”

Now, he works to preserve the historic homes of Central Florida. Thank you for the article, Scott!

We’d love to know your thoughts! Let us know — do you have other sites you’d add to this list?

If you have knowledge in a topic our readers may be interested in — such as historical preservation, home genealogy or homes in general — and are interested in writing a guest column for us, please let us know! Contact us at info@homehistorybook.com.