How to Research Your Home

Many people would love to know more about their home, but just do not know where to go to begin. This page was designed to help property owners to find out the history of their homes or businesses.

On May 14, 2011, a presentation was given at the InfoZone of the main Library how to research your property. The PowerPoint presentation is available for download. Click here for a copy. [14 MB]

Helping you preserve the history of your home is primarily what Historic Pueblo, Inc. is all about. This page will help point you to the resources you may need in order to find out information about your house, and those who lived in it. We will also provide you information how to obtain a Resource Plaque and how to apply for a Landmark Designation for your home. Do you want to print out the following information? Click here  to download a pdf copy of it.

Homeowners with property over 50 years old are eligible to purchase a beautiful bronze plaque customized with the date the home was built. The plaque can be displayed on the exterior of the home to help enhance the appreciation of older homes and the historical aspects of Pueblo. The cost is $99 and includes a complimentary one year membership in Historic Pueblo, Inc. There is a simple one page application to be filled out documenting the age of the home and historic significance, if any. Being a part of the program does not limit the homeowner's ability to alter the property. For ordering information download and mail us the Resource Plaque Application . There are currently 25 homes in Pueblo that are proudly displaying the Resource Plaque. Find out more about getting a Resource Plaque or which homes are Resourced.

Research Resources

If you have not done any research on your home, it may seem a little bit intimidating as to where to start. Hopefully, after completing this section, it will appear to be less of a monumental task. We will list some of the more common resources available. This list is by no means all that is out there. If you have a resource that you found particularly useful, please feel free to let us know about it. Contact Us.

Pueblo County Assessor's Office - Perhaps the first place to start is with the Pueblo County Assessor's Office website. Enter the site, enter in your address, and click on Search for Property. From the results, click on the Parcel Number. This will bring you to the Property Information page. The information on this page that is important is the Schedule, Parcel Number, and the Transfer History. Your best bet will be to simply print out this entire page. You may find that the Assessor's records showing the date your home was built are inaccurate. Keep this in mind as you research your home.

The Transfer History shows who owned the property going back approximately 30 years. To find out who owned the property prior to the oldest entry in the Transfer History, a trip to the Pueblo County Clerk & Recorder's Office will need to be made. Do not worry. Contrary to popular perception, the staff at the Clerk & Recorder's Office are extremely helpful and more than willing to assist in your research venture.

Pueblo City-County Library District - Before going down to the Pueblo County Clerk & Recorder's Office to dig up the complete Title Chain of your property, you may want to stop off at the Robert Hoag Rawlings Public Library, located at 100 E. Abriendo Avenue. If you are not familiar with the research department on the 3rd floor, you will be in short order. The reason to stop off at the Library is attempt to find out who has lived in your house prior to the oldest entry in the Transfer History. Trust me, this will make sense in a moment.

On the 3rd floor of the Library, find the Pueblo City Directory section. (The staff on the 3rd floor are extremely helpful and do not mind questions.) The City Directories were published as far back as the late 1800's. These publications will list who lived at a particular address for a given year. After 1927, the directories list addresses by street name in alphabetical order in the back of the book. Between 1914 and 1927, the street listings were in the beginning of the book. However, prior to 1914, the City Directories did not list the street addresses in a separate location. You will need to let your fingers do the walking...page by page...to find out who lived at your address. Be prepared, as this can be very time consuming.

Please note that the City Directories are available in hard copy AND on microfilm. If you want digital copies of the information in the City Directories, you may want to use the film readers that are able to scan and e-mail copies. You can e-mail the information to yourself at no charge. The Library does charge for photocopies.

Pueblo County Clerk & Recorder's Office - Most people think of the Motor Vehicles division of the Clerk & Recorder's Office, but the division you will be interested in is the Recording division, located on the 2nd Floor of the County Court House (215 W. 10th Street). Here you will be able to find who sold and bought your home. WARNING: It may take a considerable amount of time in order to find the complete chain of title. Electronic records only go back to around the 1970s, and copies of the actual deeds are not digitized. Prior to 1970s, you will need to dig through large and old albums that recorded where the deeds are archived. While the staff at the Clerk & Recorder's Office are friendly and helpful, it will be up to you to dig through the records.

To start your search, provide the information you obtained from the Pueblo County Assessor's Office website. The staff will assist you obtaining copies of the deeds. Please note that they do charge for photocopies. Once you get copies of the recent records, you will need to go through the Deed Record albums. This is where the information you found at the Library comes in useful. The Deed Record albums will list information by Grantor and Grantee. Grantor is the person selling the property, and Grantee is the person who bought the property. Knowing a general time frame of when someone moved into the house and more importantly the names of the persons will help your search in the Deed Record albums.

For example, going back in time, the last person shown on the Assessor's website to have bought the house was William Jackson in 1984. By searching the City Directories you found that he lived in the house beginning in 1961. In 1960, the City Directory showed that James Miles lived in the house. You can fairly safely conclude that there was no change in deed between 1961 and 1984. So, you would want to look for a change in deed from James Miles (Grantor) and William Jackson (Grantee) some time between the beginning of 1960 and the end of 1961. In addition to knowing the Grantor and Grantee, you will also need to know that Legal Description of your property. Records are listed using the Legal Description (i.e. LOTS 8 + 9 BLK 121 LAKELAND SUB), and not the street address (i.e. 1116 S. Union Avenue).

Once you find the reference to the change in deed, notate the Book number and the Page number. You will need to give this information to a staff member so they can pull the archived album that actually has a copy of the Deed. Again, should you want a copy of the Deed, they will charge for photocopies.

Continuing with this example, the City Directory shows that James Miles lived in the house going back to 1953, and George Wilson lived in the house from 1942 to 1951. (Note that the City Directory is not published every year. There may be gaps in your records.) In the Deed Records, you would want to search for a change in deed from George Wilson (Grantor) to James Miles (Grantee). You would want to start your search beginning in at least 1951, and continue toward 1953.

This seems simple enough, right? In an ideal situation, yes it is that simple. However, there are situations that may complicate your search. A couple of those situations are provided for you, but you may find your own unique problems. One exception is that the when you found someone had moved in/out of your house in the City Directory, it could have been a renter that moved out, not an owner. Therefore, you will have to continue back to the next change of residency to see if it was the owner. Another exception is that there was not a change in title via a Warranty Deed. Title could have changed through a Last Will & Testament. Or, the title could have changed as a result of a Court Order. Hopefully, the Last Will & Testament or Court Order was recorded properly in Record album.

Do you want see an example of all of this? The website for 1007 Lake Avenue provides an excellent example. Once at this site, click on Owner History in the navigation section on the left to see examples of Deeds found at the Recorder's Office.

After the Chain of Title is complete, you should have a very good idea of all of those who have lived in and owned your house. You can then work on the fun part of finding out more about those who lived in your house. The following resources can be very helpful.

Pueblo City-County Library District - The Library has a wealth of information available to those who have some time to spend there. The biggest resource available is a subscription to Ancestry.com, using the computer on the 3rd Floor. They also have copies of the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps. These maps have a great deal of detail, and are fun to look through. The Library has college and high school albums (which is a good source of photographs), marriage records (for the State of Colorado), obituaries, and a ton of other information.

Pueblo County Clerk & Recorder's Office - Once you find a marriage record at the Library, you can obtain a copy of the certificate at the Recorder's Office, provided that the couple were married in Pueblo County.

Bessemer Historical Society - If your house is located in Bessemer, copies of the Bessemer Indicator may have articles related to your home or its occupants. They also have records on those who worked for the steel mill.

Cemeteries - Two of Pueblo's largest cemeteries (Mountain View Cemetery and Roselawn Cemetery) have online searchable databases. Birth and death dates can be found from the databases, or the head stones. An internet search for other cemeteries can provide additional information.

Ellis Island - The Ellis Island website has a fantastic searchable database. An internet search for other ports of entry can provide additional information.

Ontario Architecture - Description of architecture and architectural features.

Find a Grave - Search nationwide for a grave.

Ancestry.com is a fantastic source of information, but a subscription is required.

And of course a good old fashioned search using Yahoo! or Google will lead to all kinds of great information.