The names of past homeowner can be found by searching the chain of title on the home. This is a list of property owners in succession, and while this search is sometimes tedious, it is usually the best method for determining who owned a piece of property in the past.
The search on a chain of title begins where previous deeds are recorded in the house's municipality.. Some jurisdictions keep records online, or the records may be kept at the office that holds the registry of deeds. A good place to begin is by searching the grantee index to search for the present owner in an index of buyers, which then provides the book and page where the copy of the deed is located.
Another way to find the past owner of a home is to search old building permits at planning departments and offices. Some building permits are also keep at local historical societies or archives. They are usually filed by street address and list the original owner of the home on each permit.
Historical insurance records, especially fire insurance claim forms, may offer some insight as to who previously owned a home. People can call insurance companies who have been active in the area and ask them to check their records for policies sold to the address being searched.