Emma Mabel Smith d 14 December 1958

Emma Smith was born 20 Nov 1881, in Ipswich MA, the first child of my ancestor George W Smith and his second wife Emma Frazer.  She was Josie Newell Smith’s half sister.   By the time she was 19, she was working as a box maker.  She held the same occupation in 1910.  The 1920 and 1930 census records list occupation as “none”.  Emma never married, and lived with her parents, then her brother and his wife, at 76 Essex Street in Beverly, MA.  She died on 14 December, 1958.   

Knowing so little about her, why did I pick her for today’s mini-bio?  Not so much for who she was, because I don’t know much, but rather for where she lived.  I use the on-line city directories to track down families, and the older directories sometimes have bonuses, like a death date, or removed to ___.  The family –  first her parents, then the siblings, finally her nephew, all lived at 76 Essex.  I looked up the address on Google, and found it on a map.  But then I got a great surprise!  The house had just been sold, and was still on a realtor’s site.  It included photographs both inside and out.    This worked so well, that I have made it a point to google addresses that I find on records, including censuses.  I can sometimes get a “street view” of the house, although that can be hit or miss.  And it is hard to know if the houses have been renumbered.  However, my brother is particularly good at tracking real estate on line. He can actually remember which is the grantor and which is the grantee.  In this case, he was able to track ownership of the home at 76 Essex back, and confirm that this in fact was the house owned by our ancestor George.

How many people get a virtual tour of their great great grandfather’s house!

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