Happy Birthday Houstory Publishing!
Our first year in photos

By Dan Hiestand, Houstory Publishing Marketing Director

I was talking with a friend the other day about our business, Houstory Publishing. As we were chatting, a couple of things dawned on me during the conversation: (1) Houstory was about to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the “official” launch of our business  (more on that later), and; (2) Just how fortunate I have been to be able to follow my dream with my best friend — who also happens to be my big brother and Houstory founder, Mike.

family heirloom, family keepsakes, provenances, family stories, family heirlooms, heirloom registry, houstory publishing, house history, home history book, family history, genealogy, mike hiestand, dan hiestand

Mike and Dan Hiestand, taking a break while attending the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree this past June.

Okay, before you break out the tissue and think this is a, “Hallmark moment,” it’s not. I sincerely mean what I write. I just genuinely like the guy. What can I say? When we first started the company way back in 2007 (wow, starting a business takes ages!), and I heard his idea for the Home History Book archival journal, I was hooked right away. A couple of years later, when he came up with The Heirloom Registry concept (yes, I didn’t come up with that idea, either, darn it!), again I became a believer. A big believer.

Essentially, our roles are these: He is the visionary. I am the implementer. This arrangement has actually turned out to be a great match. You never know what it’s like working with a best friend or a family member until you do it. That’s not to say it hasn’t been an at-times stressful year, or an experience  filled with steep learning curves and unforeseen circumstances. But, looking back at how far we’ve come, it feels darn good to know we made the right decision.

We have wanted to go into a family-style business for as long as I can remember — ideally with our three other brothers in the mix as well — and we floated many ideas around (remember the bagel shop, Mike?) before we hit the jackpot with Houstory. It just felt right. And it still feels right today, more than ever. In fact, over the next couple of weeks, we are going to be rolling out some big announcements which we are very excited about.

Much of our success, we owe to you, our supporters and customers. We really couldn’t have made it this far without your help, so thank you! We hope you stay with us for the ride. We think its only going to get better.

And finally, thank you Tasi and Patty, — our understanding, courageous and supportive wives — as well as Mike’s daughters, Jessica and Ally. We love you all very much!

After more than four years working on weekends and weeknights to turn our “dream” into real-life products that we’d be proud to stand behind,  we “officially” opened for business on Oct. 18, 2011, when we launched our social media. Below is a look at some of the highlights from that time until now. It’s been a very busy but exciting year!

After a year in business, I believe in two things more than ever: historical preservation, and conservation. What we do is steeped in these concepts. My belief is this: The more people know about something, whether a house or a family heirloom, the more likely they will take care of it. This means both the priceless stories and histories, as well as the physical materials, won’t just be discarded with trash. These are the things that drive me. Let us know what you think, and thank you again!

 

Houstory visits new — and old — friends in New England

By Dan Hiestand, Houstory Marketing Director

The past few days have been good ones for Houstory.

As Mike and I forge ahead, we are more excited than ever at the possibilities. In the coming months, we look forward to exciting developments and partnerships — which we’ll let you know more about in the near future. In the meantime, we wanted to share some of what has happened during our trip to Massachusetts over the past few days.

houstory, marian pierre-louis, maureen taylor, home history, house history

(left to right)  Mike Hiestand, Maureen Taylor, Marian Pierre-Louis and Dan Hiestand

First, we had a chance to visit with two people who have been very important to our company’s young development: Maureen Taylor, ‘The Photo Detective,’ and ‘The New England House Historian‘ Marian Pierre-Louis. Mike and I had a chance to sit down for lunch with both of them, and discuss a few ideas. More than that, it was great just to finally meet them in person after reading their blogs, monitoring their Tweets and chatting with them on the phone and via e-mail.

Maureen has been instrumental in helping Houstory produce an archival-quality book. From our first telephone conversation in 2008, she has helped us to build a product of the highest quality through meticulous selection of materials — specifically helping to guide us in our choice of acid- and lignin-free paper, and our archival-safe photo sleeves. In other words, she was our ‘preservation guru’, and has even authored an article on the topic for our Web site.

We have only recently connected with Marian, but have watched her work from afar for quite some time and learned a ton about home history research from her along the way. In the world of home historians, she is among the best, and obviously we are quite fortunate to have connected with her.

Additionally, we attended the 2012 New England Conference & Trade Show, hosted by the Professional Association of Innkeepers International in Hyannis, Mass., on Cape Cod. Along the way, we re-visited old friends, made a lot of new ones and took a trip to Provincetown to take in the scenery. While in ‘P-Town,’ Mike and I were lucky enough to attend a huge community party at The Red Inn, built in 1915.

Provincetown, Cape Cod

A beach house with a bright yellow door and colorful boats on Cape Cod.

The evening, which took place in cozy confines and in the shadow of the historic homes and lighthouses on Cape Cod, was magical. Complimentary appetizers included lobster bisque, bacon-wrapped oysters, incredible bread pudding and lots of new friends — all in the comfort of a beautiful historic building. Thank you to The Red Inn for your generosity!

Provincetown, Massachusetts, Cape Cod

Located on beautiful Provincetown Harbor, in one of the world’s most spectacular settings, The Red Inn has welcomed guests since 1915.

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.