Searching in Google Books
If you're researching the history of your house, you may want to search for your street address in Google Books. Google Books has partnered with several libraries in the United States and in other countries to digitize their collections and make them accessible online. These libraries include Harvard University, University of Texas, University of Wisconsin, University of California, and many others. If you try a search for your street address, you may discover information about a former resident of your home in a Who's Who publication, a university alumni publication, a trade journal, or other book or periodical.
In some cases you'll be able to read the entire text of the publication online. In other cases you'll only be able to see a snippet from the publication, due to copyright restrictions.
Here are some examples for searching for your street address in Google Books:
[I find that it's usually most effective to omit the street name suffix (i.e., Ave., Blvd., Street). Also, put the address in quotation marks.]
"120 East Adams" Kirkwood
"120 E. Adams" Kirkwood
[If your street name is common, your address may appear in numerous cities. Keying in the name of your city outside the quotation marks is sometimes helpful. Also, remember to try "120 East Adams" and "120 E. Adams."]
"2838 Magnolia" "St. Louis"
"2838 Magnolia" "Saint Louis"
Searching in Google
In addition to searching for your address in Google Books, you may also want to try a standard Google search. Bear in mind that many libraries that have not partnered with the Google Books project have digitized publications on their own websites.
If you try a Google search for a street address, such as the sample searches above, you'll often find that the first several pages of results will consist of contemporary realty websites such as movoto, zillow, trulia, blockshopper, etc.
To prevent these sites from appearing in your search results, use the minus sign in your searches. For examples:
"7157 Lindell" -movoto -zillow -trulia -blockshopper
"2838 Magnolia" "St. Louis" -movoto -zillow -trulia -blockshopper
These search strategies may enhance your chances of locating a reference to a historic publication containing your street address.