Keeping a Chronology of your house is an easy but important way of organizing all your old house history and information. It makes it easier to find references, check when rooms were added, or the house renovated, and gives you a framework to work out puzzling questions about your house history.
Using your computer makes compiling a Chronology easy.
Simply start with the date of construction of your house:
1892 – house built
Keep adding information as you find it.
1892 – house built for Herbert Bainbridge. (Source: Times newspaper Jan 1, 1893 Building News p.2)
Keeping note of all your sources means all your hard work has been noted for correctness, and means you do not have to rely on your memory for these facts in the future.
Add any information that you might find in Chronological order. Examples of information that you might add would include entries like these:
1893 – House contents sold at Auction. (Source: Times newspaper, July 1, 1893 Notice of Sale)
1904 – first photograph of house found. Shows Mr. Henderson and niece in front of house (Source: City archives photo # 42306) Maple tree newly planted in front garden.
1921 – house connected to electricity. Wiring permit from Smith & Chester, electricians (Source: City Hall Building department – electrical permit # 466)
1928 ??– small kitchen fire judging by scorch marks in wall above stove. Found when we took vent out for replacement. Estimated date by wallpaper pattern found behind old vent.
1936 – 50th Anniversary party held at house for Mr. and Mrs. Alder. (Source: local Times newspaper Social column October 15, 1936, p.B2)
(See Xeroxed guest list in file – 50 people were invited, including the mayor!)
1948 – house covered with stucco on bottom half; side porch enclosed
(Source: building permits City Hall. Contractor Mr. Wishart)
1957 – Penner family buys house – rents it to Alfred De Goutiere family for five years (Source: Diana De Goutiere – granddaughter of Alfred. She dropped in for tea in 2006 unexpectedly)
1966 – pictures of house behind Centennial parade photos in local history book: “100 years of Town History”. Shows house painted in dark colours and the maple tree in garden had been cut down and replaced by three birch trees
1986 – Stucco removed from lower half by Lunds– house repainted
1999 – We buy the house from David and Alma Lund, who owned it for 18 years. (See file for photos of their pictures, and them removing the stucco in 1986!)
2002 – We repaint the house in heritage colors, and replace missing trim on porch.
2005 – House designated Heritage by Landmarks Commission. We have giant summer party on August 15, and invite previous owners and neighbours. Plant maple tree in front garden.
A Chronology such as this example is never finished. It is amazing where new information comes from – appearing sometimes in the most unexpected places. And remember, you are part of the history of the house – you keep adding to the Chronology – for some distant, future owner, who will want to enjoy and maintain your old house into the future!