RESEARCHING OLD HOUSES

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How Old is "That Old House"?

Montgomery County Government Records can be used as follows to trace the history of an "old" building to find out when it was built:

  1. Determine the chain of ownership by researching the County Recorder's Deed Records using either the Alphabetical Index (Grantor-Grantee) or Tract Index (geographic/legal description abstract).  Make a list of the owners and their inclusive years of ownership while completing this step.  All deed indexes and records are available in the Recorder's Office on the 5th Floor of the County Administration Building (451 W. Third Street).  See the Records Center & Archives' Historical Records Guide for the listing of its available deed indexes and records.
  2. Determine the annual value for property tax purposes by researching the Auditor's Real Estate Tax Lists (tax duplicates).  Before 1974, these records are arranged by year, then by taxing district, then alphabetically by owner therein; thus, each year should be checked for owner listed in Step #1 above.  If there is already architectural or other reliable evidence of the approximate building date (for example, "the 1880s) the research can be confined to a few years (such as, 1880 - 1890).  The Records Center & Archives has Real Estate Tax Lists from 1803 to 1983.  The County Auditor's Office has Real Estate Tax Lists from 1984 to present.
  3. A significant increase (more than 50% in one year) in annual value for property tax purposes is usually evidence of construction or improvements in the year in which the change in value was recorded.  Property values for tax purposes were generally recorded at 40 - 45% of actual or probable "market value" before 1973; values are recorded at 35% since 1973.
Records are open to the public at the Records Center & Archives and staff members are available if you need assistance.  You can contact us at (937) 225-6366 or genealogy@mcohio.org.