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