Explore the history of your house with resources from the Historical Survey, the New Hampshire Room, the Derry News Archives and New Hampshire Deeds.
The New Hampshire Room has several interesting items that may be useful in your House History research.
Harriett Chase Newell Books In the 1950s and 1960s, Harriett Chase Newell set out to document historic houses in the various districts of Derry. She produced several books complete with photos. Titles included in the series are: Houses of Derry Village, N.H., Houses of West Derry, NH, Houses of the Double Range and East Derry, NH, Outlying Districts of Derry, New Hampshire, Houses of the English Range and Beaver Lake, and Houses of Derry Village, N.H. Later, she also published In Retrospect, A Memoir. Despite it being a personal account, it showcases houses and happenings in Derry, NH. Harriett Chase Newell books are a great first stop when researching Derry homes.
City Directories: We hold a handful of City Directories which can be accessed in our NH room or online at our Derry Digital Archives page. Most city directories include names of residents, including their addresses, as well as streets, maps and businesses.
The Historical Survey was completed in 1986 by the Derry Historic Commission and partially financed by the Historic Preservation Fund. It documents houses that were built prior to WWII. Physical copies of the Historical Survey can be found in our New Hampshire Room and the content has been digitized and is fully searchable on our Historic Survey website. Simply type in your address and begin the search.
It’s sleuthing time! The newspaper is hugely beneficial for House History research. Start by searching your address to see what you find (Remember to use quotations to keep words together i.e. “64 East Broadway”). It’s possible that your house was a meetingplace for a local organization like the Knights of Pythias, Daughters of the Revolution and so on. It’s also possible that a previous resident made it into the paper from time to time, for good or bad. Once you locate a name of the past resident, search by their name to find out more about them.
How old is your house? Would you like to learn more about what your neighborhood looked like way back when? We hold several old Derry Maps that can help you visualize your house in a historical setting. Similarly, many old maps had surnames of the people who resided in each neighborhood written directly on the neighborhood map. Come into the library to have a look in the map case, or contact reference with questions 603-432-6140.
Once you know who owned your house, it’s time to locate your property at NH Deeds. Select Rockingham County>Search County Records>Accept Disclaimer Agreement>AVA, then search by name and date to find out more about the history of your property and neighbors. Information on a deed can include Grantee/Grantor (who’s buying and selling), the type of deed (quitclaim, gift, mortgage, trust), metes and bounds (description of property), witnesses (usually affiliations) and more.