Thursday, November 3, 2011

Those Places Thursday - Is That Building Still Standing?

Some of you may remember the photo I posted on my very first "real" post for Wordless Wednesday. If you have forgotten, you may visit it here.

One of my readers asked if the building in the background was still standing as she wanted to look for it when she visited the area. It got me wondering, too. I have always admired the house but I never thought to look to see if it still existed. Sure, I thought, I'll find out where it was and let her know. It should be easy. I'll just look at the 1900 census again and get my 2nd great-grandparents' address because I'm fairly certain that was where the photo was taken. So I pull up, view the census image, and find that no house number nor even a street name is written for them. Drat!

No problem. I'll just email the cousin that shared most of the photos I have of that family and see if he has an address, perhaps written on the back of the photo or something. No luck. He didn't have an address, either.

Now what? Oh! City Directories! Yay! So I check and but I strike out there, too. Cyndi's List doesn't give me a link to a city directory, either. I had a copy of the Bye family page in the 1905 Town Register for Kennebunk and Wells, but it didn't have addresses.

I'm getting pretty desperate at this point. Where do I go from here? I consult Kathleen Hinckley's Your Guide to the Federal Census. Page 151 talks about Enumeration District Descriptions and Maps. She says that the E.D. descriptions are available in microfilm at the Family History Library. I think to myself, I can look up their E.D., find it on a map, and try to trace the route the enumerator took and at least get it fairly close. So, I check the FHL library catalog and proceed to order the film online. I get the message "The film you requested is already at your selected Family History Center. Please contact your Family History Center for viewing." YES!!!

At the first opportunity, I trek on down to my FHC to find the film. It's right where it should be. I'm on a roll (pun intended)! The description I found for Kennebunk, York county, Maine, E.D. 236 is "All that part of town lying east of the B. & M. R.R." Well! I found a really great map of 1895 Kennebunk in the American Memory Maps Collection. The B&M R.R. appears to be in the far south-western corner of town, which means that E.D. 236 is almost the entire town of Kennebunk.

B&M R.R., Kennebunk, Me., 1895 / G.E. Norris, Brockton.
Image from American Memory Maps Collection, Library of Congress.

Further review of Hinckley's book informs me that the FHL has photocopies of the census maps on microfiche, but I could only find them in book format in the catalog. It also says that photocopies can be ordered through the National Archives, however the URL she provided must be outdated because I get an error loading the page. <sigh>

It's time to change tactics. A more detailed study of the census page on which my 2nd great-grandparents appear, I note that while they are renting their home, the first two families on that page own their homes. Eureka! I can search the land deeds for those families and pinpoint their property. Since I believe the house in the photo is that of a neighbor, it very well could be one of their homes! I immediately return to the FHLC, locate the film number for the Deed Grantee index, v. 3-5, Kennebunk-Z, 1886-1905, and place an order.

As I was viewing the Deed Grantee index, I noticed that there are several deeds granted to the Tvedt family, one of whom is the father of Julian Tvedt, the boy in that photo. This got me 1900, Julian was living with his aunt Hilda (Bye) Crowley and her husband, Cornelius Crowley, in Spencer, Worcester county, Massachusetts (see my previous post "Monday Madness - Religiously Insane!" for that sad story)...perhaps Julianna and Frances were visiting Hilda when that photo was taken and I am looking in the wrong location entirely!

By this time, some of you are probably thinking that I am wasting my time and that I should just contact the Kennebunk Historical Society and ask them if they are aware of where this unique building might be. I thought of that and wrote to them. They are willing to try to help me so I sent the photo and the census and crossed my fingers.

As I am very weak in the area of  land and property research, I want to continue on this path to gain the experience if nothing else.To that end, my next step is to order the deeds for some of the Bye neighbors and try to plot them on a map. I might also start looking in Spencer, Mass. for that building but I think I will ask the historical society there first, assuming the Kennebunk historical society responds with a negative.

I will post an update when I get some findings, positive or negative, from the avenues I am pursuing now. This is proving to be a much larger project than I imagined and is in danger of becoming the subject of a future Madness Monday post...

Thanks for dropping by.

  Those Places Thursday is a daily blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers.

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