Many people with no specialized training have researched the history of their homes and neighborhoods. If you, however, prefer to turn the task over to someone else, or if you get stuck in your own research and need some help, there are many experienced researchers in this area.
Check with your local library and historical society for the names of investigators familiar with your community's records. Lists of researchers also are available from the Maryland Historical Trust and the L'Enfant Trust.
Before you hire someone, ask about their experience and credentials. Some researchers have graduate degrees in historical architecture while others have backgrounds in genealogy.
Costs depend on the amount of work you want done. A quick title search probably will be less than $100, but prices can go as high as $500 or $1,000 for a thorough investigation of your home's ownership chain, occupants and architectural history.
Among area researchers:
* Betty Bird, Howell Associates, 915 15th St. NW, Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20005, 393-3044.
* Houstory, 1819 Belmont Rd. NW, Washington, D.C. 20009, 265-2190.
* Mike Miller, 302 Prince St., Alexandria, Va. 22314, 548-7286 or 838-4577.
* Traceries, 1424 16th St. NW, Suite 201B, Washington, D.C. 20036, 223-2484.