Martin's Dream Home

Home History: Find out who used to live in your house

If walls could talk, we’d know all about the lives of the people who once lived in our old homes. The walls can’t talk, but census data can!

By law, census records can only be released after 72 years. That means we all have to wait until 2022 to find out who lived at our address in 1950. However, if your home was built before the 1940 census, you can find out a lot of interesting details about the folks who once called your home their home.Screen Shot 2014-09-27 at 5.38.09 PM

For example, with just a few clicks and about 10 minutes of searching we found that our home was a pretty crowded place in 1940. A family from Pennsylvania rented the place. The husband and wife lived there, along with their daughter, the wife’s father (from Scottland) and two boarders who worked for the husband as welders.

The records are photographic images of the census taker’s original records. That means you have to be able to decipher your census taker’s handwriting. Thankfully, folks back then had much better penmanship than our texting generation! The records are organized by zip code. But that still will require some searching to find your street and your address. But even the searching is kind of fun, seeing familiar street names. And you can even entertain your neighbors with stories about who used to live in THEIR homes!

Get started here: http://1940census.archives.gov/

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