Link to Accessible Catalogue
 

Find the History of Your House

Researching the History of Your House

Here are the steps to go through to find the history of your house or building at the Library. 

Buildings, Places and Landmarks Index
The first place to start at the library, this is a card catalogue index that has been maintained by librarians for more than 40 years. Look up an address and find out if that house or building has a City of London heritage designation or has been mentioned in some key resources, including:

  • Annual Geranium Heritage House Tour booklets
  • Local newspapers and magazines
  • Local architectural books

If it has been mentioned, we will then help you find that article or book at the library.

Inventory of Heritage Resources for London
Created by the City, this book lists over 2500 houses and buildings with their construction date, architectural style and rank by heritage value.

Vernon's City Directories
Published annually, City Directories are a fantastic place to start for discovering out which businesses were in your building or who lived in your house. Search by address to find out the name of the occupant. Then look up that name in the personal names section to find their occupation. Microfilm: 1856-1980. Paper: 1981-2013.  The final edition of the city directory was 2013. 

Fire Insurance Plans

These city maps, produced approminately every 10 years, show the property lines, outlines of buildings and are colour-coded to indicate the building materials used. You may even find out the number of stories and location of doors and windows. Microfilm: 1881 - 1970. Paper:  1892, 1912, 1958.

Fire insurance plans for the city of London - 1881(revised 1888), 1892 (revised 1907) and 1912 (revised 1915, 1922) - are also available online and in paper form at the Map and Data Centre located in the basement of the D.B. Weldon Library at Western University 

There are also over 900 fire insurance plans housed in the Western Archives.

Maps
A large collection of neighbourhood and city maps, including annexation maps.

Assessment Rolls
Created by the municipality.  Look up an address in the assessment rolls to find the name of the occupant, their occupation, a description of the property and its assessed value. Microfilm: 1905-1930.  Paper:  1895, 1910, 1916, 1927, 1939, 1953, 1959, 1966.  Microfiche:  1984, 1986, 1990

Area Clippings File
These paper files contain clippings from the London Free Press on various neighbourhoods in London from the 1950's to 1993.

Library Catalogue
Books about the history of various London buildings.

Photographs
The London Room has print photographs of Londoners, buildings, houses and streetscenes. Ask at the Reference Desk for staff assistance. Some of these photographs may also be viewed online on the Historic Images Gallery.

Who Lived in Your House?

Here are the steps to finding out more about the people who lived in your house in the past or ran a business in your place of business.

Vernon's City Directories
Published annually, City Directories are a fantastic place to start for finding out which businesses were in your building or who lived in your house. Look up by address will tell  you the name of the occupant then look up that name in the personal names section to find their occupation. Microfilm 1856-1980; paper - 1981-2013.  The final edition of the city directory was 2013. 

London Room Card Indexes
These catalogue card indexes have been created by librarians over the years. Search by name to find out whether they have been mentioned in a book, local newspaper or magazine. Then we can help you find that book or article.

Published Local Histories
Local histories include many stories and mentions of residents at the time.

Goodspeed's History of Middlesex County
Published in 1889, this book has over 300 pages of individual and family histories indexed by surname.

Census
Census returns often included in the occupation of every adult in the home.

Library Catalogue
Books about the history of various London individuals and families.

Photographs
The London Room has printed photographs of Londoners, buildings, houses and streetscenes. Ask at the Reference Desk for staff assistance. Some of these photographs may also be viewed online on the Historic Images Gallery.

Community Resources

Neighbourhood Associations often have members who have lived in the area for many years and may have memories of the property you are researching. 

The organizations listed below have amazing resources for the history of your house. 

ACO – London   Branch

LACH – London Advisory Committee on Heritage

Planning and Development Department at the City of London

How to find out more about who lived in your house