Top 12 House History Research Supplies

Researching your home’s history is a lot of fun, but you don’t want to be caught flat-footed if an opportunity to research and collect value information on your property presents itself. In an effort to help out our fellow “Houstorians,” we’ve come up with a list of the top 12 supplies for house history research.

House History Research


Notebook/laptop computer: To keep track of everything, of course.

Tape measurer: Try to have one on-hand at all times. Whether it comes to creating a map for your home, or measuring a room – accuracy is of paramount importance.

Camera: A picture is often worth a few thousand words.

Recording device: When conducting interviews, it is helpful to have a device on hand — whether it is a tape recorder or something more sophisticated, such as a digital recorder — that will allow you to record (with permission) the people you speak to along the way.

Large folder: During your research adventures, you’ll likely run across a slew of loose papers/documents that need a home. Eventually, many of these documents can be showcased in your Home History Book, but in the meantime, a folder will do.

Magnifying glass: Tiny print — common in the types of documents you will likely be examining, such as maps or government documents — can strain the eyes.

Tracing paper: For those times when you can’t copy some of the truly historic and fragile documents, or perhaps they are too large.

Pencil: Oftentimes, libraries and historical archives will not let you use a pen on the premises if the documents they house are too fragile or old.

Stapler: Keep the loose stuff organized.

Flashlight: The home historians sometimes has to follow the research trail to dark nooks and crannies in a home to dig up elusive information.

Sharp knife: Need a sample of wallpaper, or paint? This can help.

Mirror: If you are trying to explore hard-to-see areas, such as under an appliance or behind a wall – mirrors can be invaluable.

Is this list complete? What do you like to use when you research your home’s history? For more information on researching your house histories, visit