Researching an Old House in Andover, NH

When I bought the Old Emery Farm in Andover, New Hampshire, I was curious about the history of the property.  cropped-20130526-121057.jpgRumors around town said:

  • The first white settler, Joseph Fellows, owned this property (not true)
  • Joseph Fellows is buried here (sort of true since the path to access his cemetery is on this property, but the cemetery is on an adjacent lot)
  • The house was vacant for decades (true)
  • There was no electricity or running water here until the 1970’s (true)
  • This was the oldest house standing (possibly true)
  • The house is haunted (I don’t know yet)

Being an amateur historian, I had to get to the bottom of this colorful history. In three years, I’ve answered a lot of questions about the people who lived in this house and the changes made to the house itself. One of the more interesting residents came here to “take the cure” that mountain air was supposed to offer tuberculosis patients.  It’s fun and rewarding work even though I’m not done yet. And the more I find out, the more questions pop up.

Several people have asked me recently about the history of their houses and property in Andover. So I am going to detail the research plan that I used here in hopes that they can discover the story their house or property has to tell.

I have a long list of resources and I will add more detail and links as I find the time. The first place to start is with land deeds:

Deeds – If a property is sold, a deed is usually  filed at the county registry of deeds. You may be able to trace the history of your property by finding copies of these old land deeds. You’ll need a brief history lesson since Andover was originally part of Rockingham County, New Hampshire. Then in 1823 Merrimack County was formed from towns in northern Hillsborough and Rockingham Counties. So you’ll need to search the Merrimack county registry for more recent deeds and then move to Rockingham County for the older deeds.  Click here for links to the online registry of deeds and more information on deed research.

Census

Cemeteries

Genealogies

Probate

Architecture

Maps

Town Histories

County Histories

Tax Records

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