Historical Documents Relating To Grant Park Houses

Author: Eve and Jim Yarbrough

This guideline for house research is courtesy of Grant Park residents, Eve and Jim Yarbrough, and is based on their efforts to uncover their home's history.

PROPERTY DEEDS. Property deeds are found in the basement of the Fulton County Courthouse (141 Pryor St.). These records give you the names of owners, dates of purchase, property description and, in the older ones, a purchase price.

Deeds are recorded by grantor (seller), and by grantee (buyer); grantor on one side of the room and grantee on the other. They are arranged alphabetically and by date. You can begin by looking for the last sale of the house (your own) and working backwards by grantee. Each recording refers you back to the previous sale; book and page #s. The older deed books are very large with handwritten entries, which can sometimes be difficult to read.

You might come across a “quit-claim” deed, which is stored in a different place. This deed simply transfers a piece of property with no guarantee — what you see is what you get. Mostly used for transfer of an estate, from husband to wife or from parents to a son or daughter. Also, some deeds will be a title change only, as for a loan.

ATLANTA CITY DIRECTORIES. Atlanta city directories are found in the genealogy room of the Atlanta Public Library (One Margaret Mitchell Square, 404-730-1700) and The Atlanta History Center’s (130 West Paces Ferry Road NW, 404-814-4000) research room.

There is a book for each year. These books list the occupant of the house — Head of house and wife if it’s a married man, and occupations. These are listed by street address, giving the occupant; and by name of occupant, giving the street address. They do not list children, but they do give other information, such as if this street was paved and if it had water run to it. Also, other bits about the city in that year. It is important to remember that the street numbers changed in 1927 so if you are looking for a listing by street number prior to that date, you will first have to check the Directory for 1927 where both numbers are given to determine the old number. A number of the street names in Grant Park have changed, as well. This happened at different times so you just have to pay attention to the name as you are going through the books unless you know it is the original name.

ORIGINAL APPLICATION FOR BUILDING PERMIT. The original application for the house's building permit can be found on microfilm at the Atlanta History Center’s research room.

These list the date it was applied for, the name of the owner, the name of the builder, the location (it helps to know the old street number if the house was built before 1927). They were supposed to list such things as materials, dimensions, estimated cost, etc., but all of this wasn’t always filled in.

SANBORN FIRE INSURANCE MAPS. Sanborn fire insurance maps can be found in the Atlanta History Center’s research room.

These maps (1911 and 193 something) show the exact footprint of the house, the outbuildings, and the lot. They indicate whether the structure was a residence or a commercial building and how many stories it had.