What resources are available to help me research my house in Guelph?
House Research Guide
City and County Directories
City directories contain an alphabetical list of citizens, listing the names of the heads of household, their addresses, and occupational information. Much of the collection is available on microfilm back until 1960s. Directories from after 1960 are available in hard cover only.
The Couling Inventory consists of photographs and corresponding textual records of homes built in Guelph before 1927. The inventory was created by Gordon Couling, an artist and architectural expert. The inventory provides brief information about the location, architect, contractor, original owner, original use, construction dates, and the building materials used for particular homes selected. A photograph accompanies each description. Records are arranged alphabetically by street and then chronologically by street number. This resource has been digitized and can be accessed from this link.
The assessments rolls are arranged by year and then alphabetically by ward name. The rolls typically recorded property values. Changes to the assessed value over time could mean changes to the structures on the property. These rolls may also document the property owner’s name or tenant, his or her age, religious affiliation and occupation.
The earliest assessment rolls at the Guelph Public Library are on microfilm and date between 1852-1853 and 1855-1898.
The Guelph Public Library holds a diverse photograph collection including photographs from the Guelph Mercury and Guelph Tribune. Many of these photographs were taken to accompany news stories, and several of these photographs are available through our photo database. Please note not all photographs are available on our website. However, if a photograph accompanied a news story, we can find the photograph provided you have the date in which the story was published. You may search our photographs using this link.
The Land Registry Office can provide information listing various transactions on a given property. It’s often helpful to know the lot number which usually is on a deed of sale.
Local newspapers, such as the Guelph Mercury, can provide information about your home. If you have an idea of when the house may have been sold over the years, look through the paper prior to the sale to see if any real estate ads were posted. There may be additional information about who was selling the home and/or who bought it.
Fire Insurance Plans
These plans show property lines and outlines of buildings and may be colour-coded. The library has plans for 1890 and 1960.