Chances are that you will be able to perform the majority of the research of the history of your old house and its previous owners without ever leaving the comfort of your home. Below are a few resources that can help get you started on your fact-finding journey.
Tarrant Appraisal District
The property data search allows you to perform searches on your property for previous owners as well as current tax information. The online information dates back to 1984 but earlier information is available through a deed card search at the link listed below.
Deed Card Search
Use this site to research ownership and property history prior to 1984 including original building materials, any additional structures on the property and the original construction date of the home. You will need to know some information before performing this search. You can get the subdivision name and geo reference number you will need off of the current Tarrant Appraisal District website mentioned above. Place the geo reference number in the box requesting the legal description for the property. You do not need to fill in every field to perform a search and actually that may keep you from finding the result you are looking for. Each property record has two pages. Do not assume that the earliest listed owner on this card is entirely accurate or that the build date listed is correct. It is a good starting point to use in your research but the use of directories, Sanborn maps and other resources can help you determine the actual build date of a house and the first owner.
Tarrant County Web site
The Tarrant County County Clerk Web Access can help you find documentation on real estate sales and deeds on your property. The records date back to 01/01/1970 and many records have scanned copies available for download. Be sure to perform searches on both grantor and grantee based on the information you have gathered previously. Even though the search takes some time you can often find valuable information this way. Marriage records from 1984 to present are also available through the county clerk online search.
Fort Worth Public Library
Click on the Genealogy, History and Archives link. You will need a current library card to access online databases. Available information includes U.S. Federal Census records from 1790-1930, an obituary index from 1966-1976, Texas Digital Sanborn Maps and Fort Worth History Fugitive Facts. There are additional resources available if you actually visit the library.
- Sanborn Fire Maps (1867-1970) — These maps are useful in depicting the original footprint of your home, possible address changes that have occurred and a general layout of your neighborhood. The only map available of Fairmount is “1919 – March 1951”. This map is the original 1910 map with overlays throughout the years to 1951 which reflect changes. Therefore if a house that was there in 1910 was demolished and a new one built before 1951, the map will show only the new house. Digital access to more than 660,000 large-scale fire insurance maps of over 12,000 American towns and cities. Each large-scale plan contains detailed property and land-use records that depict the grid of everyday life across a century of change. The maps provide a wealth of information, such as building outline, size and shape, construction materials, height, building use, windows and doors, street and sidewalk widths, boundaries, and more. The plans often include information and shading for steel beams or reinforced walls, plus symbols for stables, garages, warehouses, etc. Also depicted are pipelines, railroads, wells, water mains, dumps, and heavy machinery likely to affect the property’s vulnerability to earthquake, fire, and flood. Maps also give street names, street and sidewalk widths, and house and block numbers (TexShare). FREE in home or at the library with a library card.
- HeritageQuest Online — Collection of research materials designed to help patrons trace their family lineage and American culture. More than 25,000 family and local histories, the complete U.S. Federal Census from 1790-1930, the Periodical Source Index (PERSI), the Revolutionary War Pension Applications & Bounty Land Warrant Applications, and the Freedman’s Bank Records (TexShare) A guide to using HeritageQuest Online can be found here. FREE in home or at the library with a library card.
- America’s Newspapers (Newsbank) — A collection of newspapers available for online access. Includes news articles, editorials and advertisements. A great resources for finding ads that list your address or information on previous owners of your home.Includes full-text articles, letters, and editorials from the electronic editions of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (1991-current), Dallas Morning News (1984-current), Houston Chronicle (1985-current), Chicago Tribune (1985-current), Los Angeles Times (1985-current), San Antonio Express-News (1990-current), New York Times (2000-current), and Washington Post (1977-current). Dallas Morning News Historical Archive (1885-1977) includes classifieds, advertisements, graphics, and photos. You can customize your search by date, article type and newspaper title. Full images of the newspaper pages are available for download in .PDF format. Quickly find your ancestors in over 300 years of historical newspapers, books, pamphlets and government reports. Search over 1,000 newspapers; the American State Papers; US Congressional Serial Set and more. Find obituaries, birth & marriage notices; pension records etc. Read every article on every page of the newspaper. (Fort Worth Residents only). FREE in home or at the library with a library card.
University of Texas, Austin
Sanborn Fire Maps (Fort Worth 1885-1926) — These maps are useful in depicting the original footprint of a house, possible address changes that have occurred and a general layout of a neighborhood. The only maps available here of Fairmount are under “Fort Worth 1910.” This map is the non-overlaid, original 1910 Sanborn map. These are helpful only if a structure was built prior to 1910, or in discovering that a structure was built prior to 1910. Fairmount maps include: 55-58, 61-64, 67-70, 73, 74, 76, and 82.The southern edge of what is now the Fairmount neighborhood, including most addresses greater than 2019 on the west side, and greater than 2234 on the east side, are missing from the maps because the area was not incorporated into the city yet. Most of the west side of the 1600 and 1700 blocks of Hurley are also missing.
Historic Fort Worth, Inc.
Historic Fort Worth’s Preservation Resource Center(PRC) is located in the basement of the 1899 Ball-Eddleman-McFarland House at 1110 Penn Street. The center contains files of buildings and structures included in the Tarrant County Historic Resources Survey©, which became the property of HFW in 1998. It also includes books on preservation, files of surveys conducted by HFW, historic photos, maps and information on people who have contributed to our city’s rich history. The Preservation Resource Center is managed by HFW’s Public Affairs Committee.
The Preservation Resource Center is available for use by the public. Call 817-336-2344, x 106 to make a research appointment, Monday-Friday between 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Historic Fort Worth, Inc. also is the repository of the survey material gathered on each of the houses contributing to the Fairmount National Historic District. An individual file was created for each property that includes information on early owners and a brief physical description. Depending on the resource, some files contain a wealth of information and others only a minimal amount.
Historic Fort Worth, Inc. also maintains an online Historic Property Search. You must be a current HFW member to access the archive. If you are already a member you may log in through their website to begin your search. If you are not a member you will need to join first at the link available on their website.
For additional recommendations from HFW on How to Research Your House you can download the attached .PDF.
If you are looking for census records or directories online, THIS is the place. Ancestry.com has digital archives on their website that can help you discover who has lived in your old house. Once you have some names you can gain additional information through a general search for birth, death, marriage records and possibly even photos. Create your own family tree for your house family and see where it leads you. Contacting others researching the same families from your house’s history can lead you to living relatives from those families who might enjoy knowing about the house or have additional information to add to your research. Ancestry.com is a subscription service when accessed from your house but free access is provided at the Fort Worth Library by visiting a branch or at the National Archives at Fort Worth and a library card or researcher identification card are required.
Census records as well as directory listings can be used to determine the owner or renter of a property, additional family members living in the home and possibly boarders or employees residing with the family. Review more than one year of census records to see possible births and deaths that have occurred. When looking at census records it’s important to remember that if the property owner is a female she may be using her husband’s initials rather than her own. Once you have names and dates it is usually easy to find birth and death dates and then go search for obituaries at the library. An obituary can possibly tell a life history and even include a photo as well as surviving family members so it is worth the time to do the research.
Tarrant County Archives
200 Taylor Street – Suite 5200
Fort Worth, TX 76196-0226
The Tarrant County Archives houses more than 600 named collections in a more than 10,000 square foot facility located on the fifth floor of the Tarrant County Plaza Building. The Tarrant County Archivist and Archives volunteers stand ready to assist you with your historical research needs.
Research at the National Archives at Fort Worth
1400 John Burgess Drive
Fort Worth, Texas 76140
Resources available at The National Archives at Fort Worth include free access to computer databases, microfilm publications containing records from across the National Archives and one-of-a-kind records of genealogical value.
Some of the most frequently used records are listed below:
- Federal population censuses, 1790-1940 (most of the 1890 schedules were destroyed by fire in 1921).
- Passenger arrival records.
- Passport application files.
- American Revolution military service records and pension and bounty land warrant application files.
- Mexican border crossings from 1903 and Canadian border crossing records from 1895.
- Select American Civil War Union service records and all Confederate military service records; and indexes to compiled military service records for other wars.
- Dawes census cards, enrollment jackets and land allotment jackets for the Five Tribes of Oklahoma.
- Naturalization Records including declarations of intent and petitions.
The National Archives at Fort Worth has more than 138,000 cubic feet of archival holdings dating from 1800 to the 1990’s, including textual documents, photographs, and maps. These archival holdings were created or received by the Federal courts and 100 Federal agencies in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Texas. Federal law requires that agencies transfer permanently valuable, non-current records to NARA.
Among the subjects covered are regional and national history from the early 1800’s with emphasis on westward expansion to the Southwest and the settlement of Native Americans (particularly Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks, and Seminoles) in Indian Territory; the Civil War, slavery, Chinese exclusion, repatriation, segregation, World Wars I and II, economic development, oil, and the space program. Historic names and topics include Jackson Burnett, Bonnie and Clyde, the Blue Angels, the Dalton Gang, Wyatt Earp, Billie Sol Estes, Henry O. Flipper, the Green Corn Rebellion, O. Henry, Andrew Jackson, Machine Gun Kelly, Jean Lafitte, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, Isaac Parker, Belle Starr, and the Texas City disaster.
Over the years, some street names in Fairmount were changed as subdivisions merged and schools were built. If you are looking for any of the following streets, be aware that the names were changed so you might need to search under the old name to find what the information you are looking for.
Current name = Former name
Adams (from Baltimore to Magnolia) = Lynch
Allen (from 8th to 5th) = Wetherbee
Allen (from Henderson to Hemphill) = Laurel
Arlington = Carson
Baltimore (from 5th Avenueto College) = Mimosa Place
Carlock = Garlock
Fairmount (from Magnolia to Myrtle) = King
Feliz Gwodtz = Myrtle (continued through from College to Hemphill)
Hawthorne (from 5th Avenue to College) = Short
Henderson (from Lilac to Arlington , possibly to Baltimore ) = Fort
Hurley (from Magnolia to Myrtle) = Welch
Jefferson (from Henderson to Hemphill) = Cactus
Lilac (from 5th to College) = Hawthorn (no e)
Maddox (between Lake and Henderson ) = shows as “Not named” on map
Maddox (between Adams and College) = Dezavala
Maddox (between College and Hemphill) = Bellevue
Morphy = Martin
Park Place (8th to Henderson ) = Morgan
Powell = Maiden Lane
Richmond (8th to Henderson ) = Farwell
Richmond (from Henderson to Hemphill) = Bois D’arc
Travis (from Richmond to Hawthorne ) = Bates Place
Washington (from Lilac to Arlington ) = Worth
Former name – Currently abandoned street
Cleveland (between Lipscomb and Hemphill) = is now Southside Preservation Hall north parking lot.
Peckham = street abandoned for school between Lilac and Carlock east of 5th Avenue.