Addresses on the Census Record…

24 Dec

I wish you could look up US Census records by address. Maybe you can, I don’t know. I’m going to go look it up on Google.

Ok, nope. I don’t think you can.

Here’s why I care…

At some point, William Ziesel purchased a home at 1639 Franklin Street in Philadelphia. He must have purchased the home sometime before 1900, because he is listed as living at that address in the 1900 US Census. Here’s what it looks like on the actual record:

Screen shot 2012-12-24 at 9.01.53 AM


William’s name is underlined in blue. The street is underlined in green. The address is underlined in red. Not every census has this, and you can’t always read them. But in many cases the person doing the the census wrote the street they were working on along the right hand side of the census document. You ought to know that these addresses aren’t indexed, meaning, you’ll have to look at the actual record to see the address written along the side of the record.

He is listed at that address in a couple census records.

In the 1920 book, “Who’s Who in Philadelphia in Wartime”, William is listed, and it lists his home and dental office as 1639 N. Franklin Street.

By 1930, the census shows William and his new wife, Mary Kniveton Ziesel living at 1626 Spruce Street in Philadelphia. So, I’m guessing he moved (maybe that’s obvious). His ex-wife Marie Elizabeth is listed as living at 1421 Arch Street in Philadelphia. She is listed as having no children (they’ve all grown up and moved out) and is listed as a “Lodger” along with over 50 other lodgers. The address for Marie Elizabeth is listed along the left-hand-side just like the other census records.

I went to Google Maps and found 1421 Arch Street. It is currently the Le Meridien Hotel. It looks old (if you use the “street view” of Google Maps) so I’m guessing it is the same building. I found the website for Le Meridien and just emailed them to get a little history of the building. I did google it and found that the building started as a YMCA, so maybe my ancestor was living at the YMCA for awhile. Here is what the building looks like now:

Screen shot 2012-12-24 at 9.58.25 AM


Ya, it looks nice now. Pretty posh. Rooms run about $150 a night. But I doubt the YMCA was like that. If this is all true, that tells me a little about her life. At one point she was a dentist’s wife with multiple properties, and by 1930 she is living alone at a YMCA. This info helps me gain a little better understanding of her circumstances.

8 Responses to “Addresses on the Census Record…”

  1. currentdescendent December 25, 2012 at 2:59 AM #

    Very interesting research! I have a hard time reading those census reports. And the size is awkward, too. If you print them out of a computer, so small. If you read them online, even smaller.

    • BJM December 25, 2012 at 3:16 AM #

      Thanks for visiting! I usually have to download the digital version of the census record and then zoom in, or invert the black/white. It can be quite frustrating when I can’t quite read one of those things!

  2. Mom December 25, 2012 at 6:29 PM #

    I really wish the,street addresses were searchable too. Sometimes the surnames are so butchered that would be 100% easier!

    • BJM December 25, 2012 at 6:37 PM #

      Hello “Mom”! I’m guessing my ancestors in Philadelphia had quite German accents, and that may explain why their names are spelled a hundred different ways. Here are three things I’ve noticed about addresses…
      1. If I zoom way in, and can sometimes figure out the address.
      2. If I look above or below the address I’m focused on I can find other addresses that are often cross-streets. Then, I Google Map the cross streets and see if I can find any hints.
      3. I’ve been using City Search records (whatever they’re called…they’re searchable on Ancestry) and I can usually find an address there and then see if they match.

      You just got me thinking. I’m going to do a blog post on this. You’re a genius!

      • BJM December 25, 2012 at 11:09 PM #

        Not city searches, city directories! Got it! 🙂


  1. My Love of Addresses! « Discovering William - December 30, 2012

    […] I posted a little about addresses here. […]

  2. About that YMCA… « Discovering William - January 2, 2013

    […] As you may recall, I was looking at addresses on census records some time ago and found that my great-great-grandmother was on the 1930 US Census, living alone (well, not really, but without any family around that I can find), at 1421 Arch Street in Philadelphia. And, as reported, that is currently the Le Meridien Hotel and I emailed them to get little history of the building. […]

  3. She travelled where? « Discovering William - January 9, 2013

    […] I recently found my great-great-grandmother residing at the YMCA in Philadelphia in 1930. She “expired” eight years later, and I’ve been feeling kind of bad that her circumstances weren’t a little better during the last decade of her life. But now I think I’ve found that maybe things were better than I was imagining. I mean, if things were so bad, would she have travelled all over the world in 1924?! […]

Leave a Reply to Mom Cancel reply

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

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: