My House Had Four People Living in It!

One of the things I love most about Ardmore is that it’s an old community. It was founded in 1853 as Athensville and renamed Ardmore in 1873. Part of the charm of this town is the old houses all around. When my husband and I bought a house a few years ago, we were excited to become the owners of an 80-year-old Ardmore twin. We’ve inherited the house and the history that belongs to it.

Rose bush at the back of my house

Rose bush at the back of my house

Earlier this year, the 1940 U.S. census was put online, and in addition to searching for both sets of my grandparents in New York City and McKeesport, PA, I wanted to find the census listing for my house. Who lived in the same rooms I do back before my parents were even born?

After a lot of searching, I finally found my house. Here’s what the census shows about the family:

Census Excerpt for My House

Census Excerpt for My House

  • The head of the household was Walter P. Alexander (age 61).
  • His wife was Adelaide Alexander (age 55).
  • They lived with their son Walter P., Jr. (age 26) and his wife, Hazel L. (age 23).
  • They owned the house, and it was worth $6000.
  • Walter worked at PTC Co., and Walter Jr. worked as a salesman.
  • Adelaide and Hazel were both homemakers.

Isn’t that cool? And don’t you love the women’s names? I was thrilled to get some specifics on the history of our house, and I love to wonder how four adults lived in our three-bedroom twin together!

Interested in finding your own house or another building? Check out the online census at http://1940census.archives.gov.  Here are some tips for searching:

  • The records aren’t searchable by name yet, although that’s supposed to be available at some point. You have to search by location. The site has online forms to help you find the district your house or the building you’re searching for is in.
  • Don’t assume just because you found a page with your street or a house near you that your house will be in a logical order. Census workers went door to door then, so if people at a specific house weren’t home, they just skipped the house and went back later.
  • Be patient! I had to go through five or ten sets of records with multiple pages to find my house. Think of it as a scavenger hunt.
  • Have fun!

If anyone takes the time to look for an Ardmore house, let me know. I’d love to hear about it.

About Meagan

I'm a long-time Ardmore, PA resident, and I love my home town!
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