How to find out about your old house
A lot of people want to know more about their old houses and the people who lived there, but they don't always know where to start. I'm not a researcher or anything, but I wanted to suggest some things that I did while looking into my house's history. I know I've missed plenty of resources and methods, so please add your own to fill in the gaps!
First thing, I went to the courthouse and looked it up in the property record. I was able to see the owners of the lot all the way back to the city's founding as well as the appraised value of the property. Any substantial difference in value is usually indicative of a building being demolished or built. So even if your house was not the first one to be built on that piece of land, you'll get a general idea of when the current structure or later additions were built.
Then I looked at the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for my town. I was able to access them online with my library's subscription service. These maps came out every couple of years, so I looked first at the years closest to the major valuation changes I found in the courthouse ledger. I found a 1904 map with my house's footprint outlined with a note, "From plans." Presumably it was the landowner building the house, so I was able to determine who built the house based on the property record from 1904. The map also informed me of a change in the address numbers. The street name is the same, but the numbering system was changed at some point. Having the old system's number made the next step easier.
With the names and dates in hand, you can go to your local library and look for old directories. These will yield all kinds of information. You can search by name or by address, which is useful if you can't see your property deed record (I live in a small town where the courthouse is close by and never very busy, so they are eager to help, but you may not be so lucky). Searching by address for me was helpful. The owner apparently built our house as a rental property, so searching by his name wouldn't have helped much. I was able to identify the occupant by looking up the street address. It also listed his occupation and employer, which can lead to all sorts of irrelevant tangential research (I speak from experience). It's neat to see phone numbers begin to appear in these directories. The most prominent and important residents always had the smallest phone numbers - the owner/builder (not occupant) of my house was the town doctor. His phone number was 1!
Don't forget about the census. It's only done every 10 years, so check out the decade closest to your timeframe. These are also arranged by address, so it should be relatively easy to locate your house even if you've been unable to find any names. The census should reveal names, ages, and occupations of all residents, even servants. I know I'm weird, but census pages are beautiful to me. The meticulous note-taking and almost calligraphic handwriting of most of the census-takers practically elevates every page to a piece of art.
Once you have all these names and dates gathered together, you can start looking in the newspaper archives and local history books to see if you can find out any revealing information about the previous owners. My house's original owners were prominent enough to have somewhat regular mentions in the newspaper, if only for their church activities.
I know it seems silly to get into the details of the personal lives of folks who died before my parents were born, but I never feel like I can know an old house until I know a little about the people who lived in and loved it before I did!