Shepherdstown House Histories

Deed Chains

Are you interested in researching the history of your house? Consider starting with a deed chain, a timeline of all the people who have owned your house, beginning with you or your landlord, and going back as far as you can. We have a blog post that explains how to do it.

You can do your research at the Jefferson County Clerk’s office, or you can search for deeds online at the Jefferson County Clerk’s website.

We have a  deed chain template you can use to record your findings.

House Histories

Once you’ve made a record of the owners of your house, you may want to find out more about its history, and about the people who lived there. In the archives, we have photographs and books containing photographs of Shepherdstown houses. You can find local newspapers, census and vital records online as well.

We have photographs of many of Shepherdstown’s buildings in our archives. Many of the photographs have been added to the West Virginia GeoExplorer Project in low-resolution format. You can call or email us for high-resolution copies or to request research. (Research fees are waived for HSC members.)

We also have copies of books in the archives that contain photographs and postcards of Shepherdstown buildings. Some examples are:

  • Musser, Clifford S., Two Hundred Years’ History of Shepherdstown. Shepherdstown, W. Va. : The Independent, 1931.
  • Nasby, Dolly. Images of America, Shepherdstown. Charleston, S.C. : Arcadia Pub., 2005.
  • See Shepherdstown. Shepherdstown, W. Va. : The Bicentennial Commission, 1976.
  • See Shepherdstown III. Shepherdstown, W. Va. : Historic Shepherdstown Comm., 1997.

There is a complete set of the Shepherdstown Register in the archives. However, the newspapers are very fragile, and we recommend that you use the website, Chronicling America, instead. The Shepherdstown Register was recently added to this online collection of newspapers (currently 1849-1922) and is searchable. (Chronicling America also has many other W. Va. newspapers available, including papers for Martinsburg and Charles Town.)

Census Records
Census records for West Virginia (1810-1940) are can be searched on the FamilySearch website.

Vital Records
Search for vital records using the indexes at FamilySearch, or the search page at the West Virginia Division of Culture and History website.

Other House History Resources

  • Researching the History of a House (recorded webinar), October 20, 2016, presented by Meaghan E. H. Siekman, PhD for New England Historic Genealogical Society.
  • Green, Betsy J. Discovering the history of your house and your neighborhood, 2002. (The Martinsburg Public Library has a copy in the local history section – not available for check-out.)