If your ancestral home is old enough or architecturally noteworthy, someone might’ve already researched its history. The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) <nps.gov/history/nr> recognizes structures significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering and culture. Anyone can nominate a place; a state review board, public comment period and National Park Service staff review determine whether properties get listed.
Online, search the 80,000 current listings in an online database and browse listings by week since 1996. The state historical society or preservation office Web site also might have information on historic places. You can request copies of nomination materials from the NRHP; state preservation offices and local historical societies may have them, too.