One of the first things I do when I start a new house history project is to create a contact list. A contact list contains the names and contact information for repositories and archives that are likely to have the information I need to complete my project.
Whether you are researching your own home or that of an ancestral homestead, creating a contact list will make your research easier. If you research at the registry of deeds and find yourself with extra time, you can use your contact list to choose another location to move on to.
Typical places to include on the contact list are:
- The Registry of Deeds
- The Probate Court
- The local Town/City Hall
- The local library
- The local historical society
- Any relevant museums
Items to include on your contact list are:
- Name of Location
- Street location (so you can plug it into your GPS)
- Phone Number
- Hours of operation
- You can also include the web address and relevant email addresses
Here you can see a SAMPLE Contact List (pdf) for a project that I am working on in Dartmouth, Massachusetts.
Creating a contact list ahead of time can save you a lot of time. Keep it handy whenever you go out to do research.