Thursday, June 21, 2012


A few weeks ago I made what I consider to be one of the most exciting discoveries yet. It didn't help me add new people or fill in a hole on my tree but it was profound because it provides a tangible connection to the past.

Using the census I had a new address to explore. In 1940 for $31/month my grandparents lived in a beautiful 2 story brick building that was built in 1925. The property was assessed in 2010 as being worth $460,000. Similar homes in the neighborhood are selling for $630,000 in 2012.

I was somewhat surprised that this address was not the same place they lived in 1944. I searched for this second home on google maps streetview without much luck. The address plopped me square in the middle of a busy intersection. One side of the street with very modern buildings and the other with old ones. I was disappointed because the old buildings did not match that appeared in family photos.

I searched for property records for the 1944 address and google kept providing me with records for irrelevant addresses. I somehow ended up looking at a map of an entirely differently street...miles away from what I was attempting to find. Then something familiar caught my eye. I flipped through photo after photo...

Days later I examined my browser history trying to figure out how I even ended up at this address "walking" down the street. I still don't know, but it sure was lucky! I don't believe my family ever lived in these buildings (circa 1920), they were probably just in the neighborhood - perhaps across the street, as they appear frequently in the background of photos. A happy coincidence.

Within the next few weeks the last home my grandparents shared (not pictured above) is going to be torn down. It was new in the mid 1950s when they moved into it, and just over 60 years later it is being demolished for a new and improved version.

I'm glad some old buildings are left alone.

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