I recently have been re-reading "Roots" by Alex Haley. The book is slightly different from the Mini-series but it is still great fictional genealogy. It does have a number of inaccuracies in it but you read the book for the story not the history. One part of the book mentions that the Waller family, who owned Kinta Kunta, built houses that were a story and a half instead of two story houses because the King of England had put an extra tax on two story houses.
Enter a blog called; History Myths DeBunked http://historymyths.wordpress.com/category/architectural-features/
Myth #78 talks about this story of a tax on two story houses and she concludes there was no such tax. I tend to agree with her. Like she says a story and a half house is just that a story and a half house, much like the Cape Cod house I built, it is cheaper to build than a two story house to build.