Select Page

GSBC Extra!
Home Genealogies: Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed?
Presentation by Beth Potter

House historian Beth Potter will talk about ways to flesh out the “biography” of a house … not the history of the building, but the stories of the people who lived there. Who celebrated birthdays in the living room, what recipes were created in the kitchen, were any residents in the military—those are just some of the questions that can be answered using newspaper records, church records, etc. Tracking down relatives of former owners can be a key, and Beth will give us some hints on how to do just that.

Presentation Handout: Home Genealogies: Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed?, ©2022 Beth Potter [PDF]


Beth Potter started a “house history” business when she and her husband Ned bought an 1891 Victorian in Haworth, New Jersey—and she wanted to find out who had walked those hardwood floors in years gone by. Over the years, she’s researched and written about homes ranging from a mansion in Bernardsville, NJ, to a mill worker’s cottage in upstate New York. Her research skills got off to a good start with a career as a television news and documentary writer and producer in Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia. For many years, Beth was a Trustee of the Bergen County Historical Society, and she’s also a founding member of the Northern Valley NJ Historical Society. Currently, Beth is on staff at the Haworth NJ Municipal Library, wearing many hats, including managing the local history room there and working on local historical projects, including video oral histories. She was also on staff for several years at the Ridgewood, New Jersey library, researching and writing house histories for the local history room there, the Bolger Heritage Center. Beth’s historical work has been featured in both the New York Times and the Bergen Record newspapers.


Banner Image: Van Saun House, Preakness Avenue & Singac Brook, Preakness, Passaic County, New Jersey, Library of Congress Historic American Buildings Survey, HABS NJ-166 (https://www.loc.gov/item/nj0736/)

The videos presented here are recordings of presentations given at GSBC General Meetings, GSBC Extra events, RPL–GSBC Lock-Ins, and other GSBC events. They are provided as a service to those GSBC Members who cannot attend the presentations in person, including our distance-Members, and any Member who would like to watch the presentation again. We hope you find value in these resources—please let us know!

Note that not all presentations are included as some speakers do not wish to be recorded and others have expiration terms on their videos and/or handouts. (Most speakers also allow us to provide copies of their handouts after the video term has expired.) A good number of presentations to the GSBC—especially those with expiration terms or which were not recorded—are recapped in The Archivist. Please note that videos and handouts are contracted for the GSBC's use; these videos and handouts may not be shared, streamed, broadcast, or otherwise distributed. Our speakers are professionals who derive income from their expertise and presentations; all materials are copyrighted to our respective presenters.

Your Membership contributions help support these speakers and the technology to make this possible—thank you!

The player works with all current browser technology (please note that Internet Explorer is no longer supported by many sites and Microsoft has discontinued support and updates for this browser). If you have problems with playback, please try using a current browser or disabling any ad-block or pop-up block software.