In a city as old as Franklin, it is necessary to understand the history of your home and its inhabitants. Like many Massachusetts houses, your building may have been built in the seventeenth century. Researching your Franklin house’s history is an enlightening experience (in a notable home, you can experience history every day), it also indicates the type of care necessary to keep the building in pristine condition. Below, we have listed some methods and resources to speed your research process.
Visit the Local Registry of Deeds
Most Registry of Deeds websites have online public records that you can browse from the comfort of your own home. They may, however, only go back to a certain period—with so much history, librarians and historians are still indexing and digitizing many records. If you can’t find your home, consider using this website, which has Massachusetts Land Records from 1620-1986.
This documentation will help you find: previous owners (everyone who has ever owned the property), liens (current or past), and a history of potential foreclosures.
Some internet archives will go beyond the information offered by your local Registry of Deeds. Instead of simply knowing who has previously owned the home, you can find everyone who once lived there—tenants, boarders, lodgers, &c. This site is a wonderful resource for this type of information—just type in “franklin inhabitants.”
While researching, Google can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Start by Googling your home address. This will likely glean several thousand results, but you can narrow your search by incorporating advanced operators or Boolean searches. If you want to eliminate some popular sites from your search (for example, Zillow may be one of the first sites to appear), include a “-zillow” in the search bar.