One day a man in his 30s with big thick glasses knocked on my front door. “I’m sorry to bother you,” he said, “but did Kevin Kling live here?” Kevin Kling is a nationally known playwright and storyteller who grew up in Minnesota.
“Actually,” I said, “I heard that the Coen Brothers worked on the Fargo movie script here, but I don’t think Kevin Kling ever lived here. He might have visited,” I offered.
I watched the man disappear down our front steps and walk down the sidewalk to the north. I remember thinking that he looked just like Kevin Kling.
So how do you find out who has lived at your address?
I had done some research at our local historical society and I had scoured our title documents. I had read about the Dixon’s and how they meticulously built our home in 1915. They didn’t sell until 1965 when their daughters took over ownership from their mother. The next families came and went with around 10 to 15 years of ownership each until the family sold to me in 1999. They had only stayed for three years—by far the shortest time period in our nearly hundred-year-old home.
To find out more information about your home’s history, check the following resources:
- Look through your “chain of property title” either with your original title documents or at your county records office.
- The National Trust for Historic Preservation has more information about how to search for your home’s history.
- The New York Public Library’s Guide to Researching the History of your Home, by Philip Sutton. Some of the resources listed in this book work for various locations.
- The Minnesota Historical Society’s placeography.org collects and shares information about neighborhoods nationwide.
Barbara Schmidt, bstyle, inc., is a nationally recognized interior designer and author whose work is featured in numerous publications, social media and television.