Where They Lived

Many records give the address where our ancestors were living. Census records are a great source of addresses (check the left margin), as are some military records. I’m always interested in seeing whether the property still exists and what it looks like today.

Thanks to google maps and street view, you can often get a close look at a property.

Find a street address and then visit https://www.google.com/maps

Type in the address and you’ll see a box like this, top left of your screen:

Screen shot 2015-02-15 at 3.24.37 PM

Click on the photo where it says “street view” in white to get a look at the street:

Screen shot 2015-02-15 at 3.24.48 PM

Now us the + sign (bottom right) to zoom in, if necessary. You can often see the house number on or near the front door. In this case, my ancestors lived in the house on the far right:

Screen shot 2015-02-15 at 3.25.42 PM

You may not always find street view available – it depends on what Google has imaged. You’ll have the most luck in larger cities and towns, as opposed to rural areas.

You may also find that addresses have changed and the exact house number may no longer exist, even though the street does. The same is true of streets – names can change over the years. It’s also possible the building has been demolished in the decades or centuries since your ancestors lived in the area.

Happy hunting!


4 thoughts on “Where They Lived

  1. I do this often, and it’s great when you actually can see the house where they lived! I do find that very often I have to move the viewer around because it doesn’t always land on the right address. Have you found that also?

    • Yes, I do find myself moving the viewer around to hone in on the right address. For the example I cited, I would have thought the correct building would be in the middle, but it was far right. Sometimes there’s even more toggling involved and occasionally I can’t pinpoint the right building at all.

      • Yes, that’s been my experience also. Sometimes the viewer is blocks away, and I have to use the map to keep moving it over. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s