Tuesday’s Tip: Why Did Everyone Move in 1886?

When I first started researching in the early 2000s I spent hours plowing through microfilm of the Baltimore City Directories at my local library.  One thing I noticed when I put my information into my spreadsheet was that all my Baltimore City ancestors moved in 1886.  And most of them just moved to another house on the same street.  It was weird!

I also thought that there was some kind of weird printing issue in the 1887 directory.  I couldn’t understand why there were numbers before AND after the street names.  For example, my 4th great grandfather’s widow’s address was listed as 1217 e Chase 243.

Then one day in 2008 I decided to do some research and figure out what was going on.  I learned that most of my ancestors didn’t move (although one set of 2nd great grandparents did in fact move that year), the streets of Baltimore were renumbered in September-December 1886.  The new system used Charles Street as the new divider between east and west (it had been Calvert Street) and implemented “hundred blocks”.

Once I understood the changes I FINALLY stopped trying to figure out where my 2nd great grandfather’s produce store was at 141 West Baltimore Street in current day Baltimore.  Now I knew that it was at 209 East Baltimore Street and he occupied the same building from 1875 until 1899.

For those looking for more information on the renumbering, the 1887 R.L. Polk City Directory is a great resource because it included the new numbers as well as the old numbers (hence the 1217 e Chase 243 for my 4th great grandfather’s widow).  The new address was 1217 e Chase, the old address 243 e Chase.  The directory also included a complete listing of the renumbering starting on Page 45 of the directory.

As of today, I could not find a complete 1887 R.L. Polk Baltimore City Directory on-line for free.  However, the Baltimore City Archives has a PDF of just the street renumbering information from the 1887 directory here.
Fold3.com has the entire 1887 directory included in its records but you need a subscription for access.
***Note that there is an 1887 Business Directory free on archive.org but that does not include the renumbering information.***
For print and microfilm versions of the 1887 R.L. Polk Baltimore City Directory, go to the Baltimore City Archives City Directory listings.

Mappy Monday: Maryland Map, City Directory and Land Resources

Maps and Land Records are my favorite records to search.  Since I had many ancestors that lived in Baltimore City, Maryland, city directories are invaluable for me as well.

If you are researching in the state of Maryland, you may not be aware that there are several on-line resources (mostly free) for Maryland.  This list is not all inclusive, but a list of my favorite and most helpful resources.

https://mdlandrec.net – Maryland Land Records
All land records are available with a free account.  There is a learning curve.
**Once you get your account and log in, be sure to read the “Help” menu for hints on using the system.

http://planning.maryland.gov/finderOnline/finderonline.html – FINDER Online
Web based GIS system hosted by the Maryland Department of Planning.  Provides property maps and parcel information.  Also links to the Real Property Data Search (below).

http://sdat.dat.maryland.gov/RealProperty/Pages/default.aspx – Real Property Data Search
Provides current property information from the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.  Very helpful when tracing a property backwards from the present day.
**Read the “Guide to searching the database”

plats.net – Digital Image Reference System for Land Survey, Subdivision, and Condominium Plats
Access to various plats (many times referenced in deeds from Maryland Land Records.
**Read the “Beginners Guide”

http://mdhistory.net/msaref07/html/index.html – Papenfuse Map Collection

http://www.prattlibrary.org/research/database/ –  Enoch Pratt databases
An Enoch Pratt library card is required for access to Sanborn maps through ProQuest.

https://www.fold3.com/browse/232/hdGkjD9D9 – Fold3.com Baltimore City Directories
Requires a fold3.com account.  (If you do not have an account, be sure to check your library or society to see if they have institutional access.)

http://baltimorecityhistory.net/baltimore-city-directories/ – Baltimore City Archives listing of Baltimore City Directories (electronic or otherwise).

http://publications.newberry.org/ahcbp/ – Newberry Library Atlas of Historical County Boundaries
**Unfortunately the interactive maps are currently unavailable but the site does have a downloadable KMZ file that can be used with Google Maps and Google Earth.

As always, please be sure to read the copyright information for usage restrictions.  If you find a resource particularly helpful, also look for a “Donate” button.  This helps get more of these great resources on-line.

Sibling Saturday: Henry Sisters

I have Henrys on both sides of my family (unrelated).  Here is my 2nd great-grandmother Charlotte Virginia Blatchley Henry and her daughters Mary Bessie Henry Cantville, Florence Edna Henry Penn, and my great-grandmother Ruth Augusta Henry Pisani. They had another sister Edna Scholl Henry who died shortly after her first birthday (and 3 months before my great grandmother’s birth).

The photo is undated but the location given is the “Henderson St home”.  Henderson Street no longer exists, it current location would be Venable Avenue, Waverly in Baltimore, Maryland.

(L to R) Bessie Henry Cantville, Charlotte Blatchley Henry, Ruth Henry Pisani, Florence Henry Penn

Friday’s Faces From the Past: Mystery Relatives?

When I was given a box of old pictures, news clippings and obituaries that belonged to my late maternal grandmother, with help from relatives we were able to identify most people in all the pictures.

Everything that was in the box involved family members, the majority from her parents’ families.  So the surnames involved in other items in the box be Pisani, Bull, Vicari, Henry, Epple, and Blatchley
The picture below is a complete mystery.  There is nothing written on the back.  I have sent this picture out to extended family members and no one has had any idea who these two children are.

Mystery Children

Hopefully one day I will solve this mystery.

Those Places Thursday: Great Seats to the Game?

In researching my Epple family, I have learned through the Baltimore City Directories that my 3rd great-grandmother lived at 136 Little (or South) Green Street in Baltimore City, Maryland for from about the late 1860s until her death in 1883.  I knew from a Maryland Real Property search that the house (and street) do not exist anymore. 
A closer look allowed me to find the 1879/1880 Sanborn map of the area on the Maryland State Archives website.

136 Little Green Street (Red Box) from Papenfuse: Atlases and Maps of Baltimore City and County, 1876-1915 & Block Maps as of April, 2005.  Image: bc_ba_atlases_1876_1915-0638

From my knowledge of Baltimore City I knew that the present day area would be around Camden Yards.
But I wanted to know exactly where.

I was able to overlay that map onto Google Earth and low and behold the house was on the current 3rd base side of Oriole Park.

136 Little Green Street (Red Box) on Google Earth with Sanborn Map overlayed.
136 Little Green Street (Red Box) on Google Earth.

Being a huge baseball fan, I thought this was pretty cool!

Epple Go-Over – Part One and a Half

In Part One of my Epple Go-Over I looked at the information I had in my database regarding Rose Epple and her family.  In doing so, I realized that much of the information I had was either unsourced or improperly sourced.  So I spent some time going back and re-sourcing the census information I had and re-examining that info to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

In addition, I pulled out what I had for Rose’s siblings.  Since I am dealing with an immigrant family, anything I can find on the siblings may help link the family back to Germany.
As I pulled out various documents I have collected through the years, both electronic and paper, I realized that I already have a lot of clues that I missed the first time around.

So…that is why I had to have a Part One and a Half.
I have been busy organizing and pulling all the clues out of those documents so I can come up with a clear set of goals for my Epple research.
Stay tuned…

Tuesday’s Tip – Read Source Introductions

I have been looking for one of my ancestors for years in the 1800 Census.  He lived in Baltimore County, Maryland.  It seemed as though the entire county was missing from every source I looked at.

Well, I finally discovered why.

During a trip to my local public library I pulled the book “Maryland 1800 Census Index” from the shelf.  I decided to read the introductory pages…and there it was:

Jackson, Ronald Vern., and Gary Ronald Teeples. Maryland 1800 Census Index. Bountiful, UT: Accelerated Indexing Systems, 1973. Print.

So, read the introductions of sources to find out what is and what isn’t there.  I have known this tip but obviously haven’t followed it.  Maybe if I write it down I will now practice what I preach.