Research Your Home

House Histories
The Chevy Chase Historical Society should be your first stop for learning about your home and the people who once lived in it! Researching your house and its former residents is a time-consuming but rewarding experience. We have many resources to help you perform a house history and can guide you to further research. At our Archive and Research Center you can find the following:
 
Deeds
Although our collection is incomplete, we do have some deed records donated from a local title company. Remember, a deed history just reveals the chain of ownership of the property, not necessarily the people living within the home. You have to consult other documents to learn if a property was rented out, had extended family living in it, or housed/employed non-kin residents. Yet a deed history is your starting point because it provides you with the names of some people to research. For more information about how to perform a deed history, click here.
 
Atlases and Plat Maps
These resources help to determine such things as the year your house was built, its architectural history, the original footprint or lot size in the case of subdivision, and the original street address.
 
Photograph Collection
We have thousands of vintage images of home interiors and exteriors, neighborhoods, and former residents at work and play.
 
Oral Histories
A few people who have researched their homes at the CCHS Archive have found the oral histories of former residents helpful.
 
City Directories
Unlike the white pages of today, these phone books listed the head of household (not necessarily the owner) and what people did for a living.
 
Town Papers
Items such as town newsletters, council meeting notes, account books, petitions, and working infrastructure maps all reveal information about residents, properties, and the community at large.
 
Archives – Yearbooks, Church Directories, Postcards…
More information can be gleaned from cultural items like school yearbooks/directories, church records, postcards sent to and from your address, WW2 ration coupons, magazine articles and advertisements—even cookbooks—all of which CCHS actively collects.
 
Library
Our book, The Placenames of Chevy Chase, Maryland,  and our DVD, Chevy Chase, Maryland: A Streetcar to Home, provide a narrative history of Chevy Chase, but these are just a few of the books available in our library collection.  In addition to books about Chevy Chase, we also have books and monographs about Montgomery County and Washington, DC.
 
Research Resources Beyond CCHS
There are endless archives and online collections to visit after your visit to CCHS. For a brief list of institutions and resources most useful for researching Chevy Chase homes on both the MD and DC sides of the border click here.
 
After Your Research

Enjoy the results of your research by organizing all of your materials in a 3-ring binder or folder. In addition to copies of official records, newspaper clippings, and photographs, include anecdotes, reminiscences, and descriptions relating to the history of your house. When you finish, share your final results with CCHS. We will gladly make a duplicate copy of your work for our archive. This important information in your house history will assist future residents in their projects. 

 

The Chevy Chase Historical Society is supported in part by a grant from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County