Did you know that researching the history of a house can make a great springboard for area and state history study? Actually, many things can be taught and developed by the study of a house and its residents, renovations, and stories. This article will talk about how this can be done. Secure the following items to get started.
* Public library access
* Internet access
* Digital camera
* Writing equipment
* Time to plan
If both parents and child(ren) are ready to do this, you will need to plan out how long it should take. Plan the library trips and Web research to take place after all regular school work has been satisfactorily completed. Begin by posing questions, such as “Why is this (closet, post, door, etc.) here?” What was the common material used in those days on floors, ceilings, etc?” Set out to answer any questions you both have as you examine the structure and room additions/reductions of the house.
Proceed to the library as you would for any other house historical research or genealogy, but take the student(s) as you lead the process. Allow them to speculate and develop hypotheses about past residents and owners.
Use the Internet, and in particular, death notices of past residents, Find their spouses, children, and even the causes of death. Place each past family/individual in the context of state and US History during their time period.
Encourage the students to write as they are able. Let them have fun with their writing and learning; you can be as creative as you desire, providing you are tying it into history and developing the research skills of the students.
Once you get going, you can make the ultimate in house history research happen. Find the descendants of the past owners–as many as are alive and locatable. Send or call with invitations for them to come and speak at your house, with the child(ren) listening as they speak from years of experience and memory of the way things were “in the good old days.” They will likely be flattered to attend.
Some additional notes as you continue, and learn more:
* Start a blog about your findings, but leave the address and sensitive contact data out.
* Take lots of pictures
* Become a member of your local historical society, and submit research insights and results when done.
* Don’t forget to make some treats for your guests, and give them basic contact data.
* Of course, comply with all your state’s educational requirements, and maintain recordkeeping