Partner with the Genealogical Society of Bergen County
Researching a House History
A Guide to Tracing Your Ridgewood House
Click here for a print-out of this research guide.
Click here for a video tutorial on how to research your house remotely.
LOCATING THE HOUSE IN TIME AND SPACE
Check the Ridgewood Historic Sites Survey (HERITAGE REF 974.922 HIS)
Find your address on the Historic Sites Survey map
If it is in a district or has a number, note it and look it up in the book. If it is a district or streetscape, also read about the neighborhood at the beginning of the section.
Check current Tax Assessment Records (Please note that dates of construction may not be accurate, however you can get dates of the most recent transfers of the property)
Go to the Village website to get the year purchased, year built, size of lot, owner for last 3 years, and assessed value.
Go to the NJ Association of Tax Boards website and click on Record Search in the top row. This will provide the same information, but you can switch views to Deed/Sr1a List to get the most recent deed transactions, including book, page, date, price grantor, and grantee
Check the maps in the HERITAGE ARCHIVES collection (Requires appointment with the Local History Librarian): The maps can provide different information such as a footprint of the house, homeowner, dimensions or lot outlines.
1916, 1925, 1928 and 1930 (updated in the 1940s) Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps
You can search Ridgewood city directories on microfilm for the following years: 1897, 1904-1914, 1926-1973. You can find the pre-1930 house number on the 1930 Sanborn map available at the Bolger Heritage Center
You can also search through some later phonebooks, available by appointment.
Find past owners by doing a deed search at the courthouse in Hackensack. The records are available for use by the general public to conduct their own searches.
The Searching Vault contains over 300 years of land recordings. The deed records begin in 1785 and the mortgage records begin in 1765.
Some records are computerized and some are only available by use of the deed books, but all must be accessed on site. The records cannot be searched by property location, but are listed by grantor and grantee, for which there are indexes.
Copying is 5 cents per page; maps are $3.
WHAT WERE RESIDENTS LIVES LIKE?
Find past residents in the Federal Census: This is indexed by name and is available on Ancestry Library Edition (accessible in the Heritage Center & Ridgewood Public Library). Federal censuses were taken every 10 years and the ones publicly available for New Jersey are 1830-1940 (except 1890).