As I posted earlier, I am helping a friend research his ancestral home, a farm house rumored to have been constructed during the Civil War. For him, the issue is not determining who owned the house through the years as it was occupied by family members until 1995. Instead, he would really like to know exactly when the house was built.

There are numerous challenges to this project. First of all, there are several pieces of land owned in the same township by men with the same name. Looking at old atlases, I cannot determine which farm is the one owned by his relative. This would not be a problem if the house was still located in the place in which it had been built, but in the 1990’s it was moved to a different municipality. The old address for the house is no longer in existence, making it hard to obtain a legal description of the property. Which is needed to locate the deed telling me when the ancestor bought the land. Added to the mix is the fact that St. Louis City used to be considered part of St. Louis County, but they split in 1877. All records prior to 1877 are located downtown at City Hall, whereas later records concerning the farm are located in the St. Louis County Government Center.

I’ve looked through the old city directories and gathered up the numerous addresses utilized by the post office for this property over the years. Earlier census records do not give an address because of the large number of farms in the area. Going through the microfilmed index to deeds for St. Louis City, I have found several references with possibly the correct name, but without a legal description I have no way of knowing which deed refers to our farm.

My next step will be to take the last known address for the farm house to the St. Louis County Government Center and see if the staff there can look it up on their computers. Because the address no longer exists, I can’t look it up from home. We’ll see where that takes me.