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Researching your Old Omaha home

How to uncover your Old Omaha home’s past.

Did you know that for the price (free) of a library card, you can search the online archives of the Omaha World Herald? Simply access the archives via the Omaha Public Library site and enter your library card number.

I recently took a few minutes to get started researching my own home to see what I could learn. In just about an hour of research, I found out so much and identified some promising breadcrumbs that I plan to follow soon.

All you have to do is access the archives and search by your address in quotes. At a minimum, you may find out names of past residents from birth announcements or notices of auto accidents. From there, you can search those names to see where the history takes you. You may be lucky enough to find full articles about the home or prior inhabitants. It’s also fun to read old descriptions in real estate listings from the past.

My search uncovered some interesting nuggets. A dentist used to live in the house, having moved there after his wife was killed in a car accident. At the time of the accident, she was not living in the house, but her passenger did live there. The dentist must have purchased the property within a few years of the accident. He lived there with his three sons, one of whom was featured in a delightful article recounting his road trip with a friend to Ontario and back. The teens undertook the trip shirtless, which was big news in 1932. The dentist was featured in 1933 for having decorated the fireplace with stones found all over the country and dental inlay. Unfortunately, the decorations must have been removed by subsequent residents because none of the stones remain in our home today.

When you live in an old home, you live in history, and the archives are a great place to start uncovering your home’s past mysteries and wonders. Take a dive; you won’t regret it.

By Erin Fox

Erin once dreamed of being a champion barrel racer and FBI agent, but a series of unfortunate events, poor eyesight, and an astounding lack of coordination precluded that path. Luckily for her, she loves real estate even more, and, apart from opening doors, navigating stairs, climbing into attics and on roofs, and catching escaping cats, it requires hardly any physical coordination.

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