When we first moved here we were told by the Real Estate agent that this was a century home. The building inspector said it was at least 1890's, and my own limited knowledge of building methods suggested late 1800's.
Like good little citizens we contact the local Heritage Society to verify whether our house was listed and what portions of the house were protected. Unlike most Heritage Societies that I am aware of, the local society only protects certain aspects of a home not the entire home. In some homes it is the staircase, others the fireplace moulding but not the fireplace, in others it is the layout, etc.
We were told our home was built in 1920 which just didn't fit with the building methods used to build her. Log floor joists on 4 foot centres, stone foundation, post and pin roof framing, posts with bark still on them for the upstairs wall studs, and thick ( 1.25 inch or more) flooring in the unfinished rooms upstairs. But the Society said she didn't fit the bill and therefore was not protected in any way, which may explain some of the renovations done over the years.
Imagine my surprise when PeterC came home from work with a link to an area map from 1856 showing the exact outline of our home on the map. Turns out one of his co-workers is really big on genealogy and family history and while doing a search for some of his relatives came across this map in the archives, and kindly passed the link on to us.
This map does not prove that the current house was built earlier than 1856 but it sure does lend some credence to the idea that it is older than 1920. The map does show a home with the exact same dimensions and location as our home, including it being right on the then existing county road line. The map also shows a carriage house and barn in exactly the same location as we have found the remains of a stone foundation, and a drive way in exactly the right place to be lined on either side by our really old double row of trees.
The only way to prove it is the same house is if we could find a newspaper with a picture of our house in it, from the period. If it includes a series of family names to link it too, that could then be searched in the county records would be even better. But, in the end it doesn't really matter if we can prove it to the Historical Society.
It is good enough to know that our home is indeed most likely as old as we thought. Now if we could find some pictures of the inside of the house, that would be perfect. Then PeterC and I could spend our money and time returning this lovely lady back to her original state, creating a beautiful home and a work of art.