Lowell Deeds

The latest on real estate recordings and new technology from the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds in Lowell

August 25, 2009

Home Histories

by @ 2:42 pm. Filed under Real Estate, History

Homeowners often contact us asking us how they might determine the year in which their homes were constructed. Here’s an inquiry I received yesterday by email:

Hi. A fellow old-home owner in Lowell referred me to your website as a good source of historical info about our house. When I do a search on the address, I only see info going back to 1990. I’m looking for info back to 1890! Does the system contain old info? I’m trying to determine the actual year the house was built. I’ve seen conflicting dates on various documents, from 1860, to 1880, to 1905, to even 1917!

Here’s my reply:

All of the land ownership documents (deeds, mortgages, etc) going back to 1629 are available on our website (www.lowelldeeds.com) although they are in several places, depending on their age. The more recent ones are on masslandrecords.com while the older ones - before 1950 - are on www.lowelldeeds.com. Unfortunately, the name index used to find these documents only goes back to 1976 online. We have it all the way back to 1629 but that’s only available here at the registry. It is in electronic form, however, and if you bring in a 16 gigabyte flash drive (also known as a “thumb drive”) we will give you a copy at no charge. The files for the index are so large that we have not yet been able to get them on the internet.

More to your inquiry, records here at the registry of deeds are primarily concerned with who owns the land and not what is built upon the land, so nothing we have would tell you precisely when your home was built. The best you can do with our records is draw inferences from the various deeds and other documents. For instance, if someone bought the property for $1000 and a year later sold it for $5000, you could infer that something had been built upon it in the interim.

If you decide to come to the registry to conduct your research, we’re open from 8:30 am to 4:15 pm Monday thru Friday. On whatever day you do make it to the registry, please stop by our Customer Service desk and ask for me. If I’m available, I’ll show you how to use the computers; if I’m not, just ask anyone at the Customer Service desk to help you.

Sorry I can’t be more helpful than that, but if you have any more questions, please let me know.

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