House History Hunting Part 3: A local index like no other

by on March 28th, 2014

Alright, so in the past two posts, I shared how to find out a property’s recent owners and specs via the Iowa City Auditor’s website, find a thorough history of ownership (and in some cases, renter-ship) through the Polk Directories, and connect familial relationships through obituaries in ProQuest back to 2002. How to search further back?

Boxes of microfilm

Iowa City Press Citizen Microfilm

I next look for the family name in ICPL’s own Local News Index. I click on “Keyword Search” at the top, and then enter his name into the Subject field, hoping to get to his obituary. To have more options, I enter his last name only. I discover way more than obituaries—this was an active family!

At this point, I have already crawled down the research worm hole and I better find out a little more before my curiosity is sated. I find the Polk Directory from his obituary year and see that indeed, the house was in his name one year, and in his wife’s name the following year. And this time, the directories list the address as the family masonry business too. I am giddy at this confirmation.

The Local News Index also tells me that an Iowa City mayor lived here. Whoah. And he endured controversy at certain points of his tenure. Dang.

I want more, but I am tired of researching for the day. When my partner and I are settled in, I’m sure something will spark my curiosity again and lead me to the Iowa Press Citizen microfilm at the library.  I’m already excited to start this next phase of researching.


Posts in this series:

House History Hunting Part 1: Good deeds go unpunished

House History Hunting Part 2: Raising the dead

House History Hunting Part 3: A local index like no other (currently reading)

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