Gain detailed historical context through property research
Delving into property research is a great way to form a rich understanding of the past and establish historic context. This is critical because it provides information about the period, the place, and the events that created, influenced, or formed the backdrop to the historic property. The discussion of historic context should describe the history of the community where the property is located, particularly as it relates to the history of the property. A building is not simply its architectural style, purpose, or date of erection; it is also the people that have lived in and/or utilized it, the events that transpired there, and the changes made to it over time and the reasons why such changes were enacted.
To develop a historic context and insights into a property's significance, begin by asking these types of questions:
What was the property called during its period of significance?
How many buildings, structures and other resources make up the property?
When was the property developed or constructed?
When did it attain its current appearance?
What changes have been made to the property over time?
How was the property used during its historic period and how is it used today?
How does the property relate to the history of the community?
Who occupied or used the property?
There are also many physical details about a property that you can collect to establish some measure of historical context. A building may have a date of construction or inscription with useful information set into an exterior wall. This can provide important clues to the date of construction, the original owner, or to the original function of the building. A date stone, however, is not always reliable evidence and should be cross-referenced with other information. In addition, careful inspection of the physical fabric of a building can reveal evidence of physical changes that have been made. Differences in the types of materials and detailing used in different portions of a building, along with changes in the roofline slope, can be indications that additions have been made. Frequently, blocked-up windows and doors can be detected in a building. Abrupt changes in floor level or proportion can indicate that alterations have been made. Some familiarity with architectural styles can assist the researcher to examine changes to a property, such as the removal or addition of porches, changes in windows and doors, removal of roof ornaments, etc., and provide possible insight into when such renovations/changes might have been made.
To find answers to these questions, call the Rome Historical Society & Museum, submit a research request online, or stop by and visit our museum, library, and archives.
Our mission: To actively research, collect, preserve, and present the historical importance of Rome, NY and to serve as an educational and community resource.
Our Archive Request Form is available as a text fillable .PDF form by clicking on the following link. This form contains all policies and forms relating to conducting research in our library, including a questionnaire about your research topic. Please note that you will have to download the form to fill it out electrontically. Also available is our updated Research Library Fee Schedule, where current pricing for research, photos and documents are available. Links to these forms are available below.
Put your ancestor's facts into perspective
Our dedicated research team offers you the chance to place your family’s past in a rich, historical context. We can help you gather the facts necessary to paint a vivid picture of your ancestors’ lives from a variety of sources. Historical information about the geography, climate, politics, economics and social conditions can allow you to understand more fully the lives and times of your ancestors. Access to these details and insights will allow you to consider many questions about a particular ancestor and their time and place in history. For instance, did they live on a farm or in the city, and how did that effect their social life? Was your ancestor the eldest child, and therefore responsible for younger siblings? Perhaps there was a war during part of your ancestor’s life. Were they a soldier with a military record, or were they responsible for maintaining the home front and other charitable acts? Looking into the various records of your ancestor’s life, as well as other general history, can help you to answer these questions.
Be specific when submitting a request, as this allows us to provide you with the most accurate information available. Provide as much of the following information as possible:
Birth: Name at birth, date of birth, Father's name, Mother's maiden name
Death: Name at death, date of death, age at death, names of parents and spouse(s)
For what purpose is this information required?
What is your relationship to person whose record is requested?
In what capacity are you acting?
Your address, daytime phone number, and email address
Signature of applicant and date
Please note that our town records did not start compiling birth and death records until 1882, so town and city clerks will not have any such records before then. The surrogate court is a good place to start looking if the ancestors left any property when they passed. The death record in such files is highly unlikely to contain any information on parentage. However, a will file and an obituary can have very useful information, such as children and other family members, occupation, and what church they attended. Establishing someone as a sibling to your ancestor can be very helpful in determining parentage and constructing a genealogical chart.
Our library houses a wealth of information, including military conscriptions/enlistment records, maps of Rome, NY and surrounding towns/villages, photographs, scrapbooks, diaries, and newspaper announcements of births, deaths, and marriages. Our collection of Rome City directories covers 1857 - 2003. Our vertical files contain information on local towns, people, places, industry, canals, railroads, and other modes of transportation.