Michelle Ann Kratts

How to find the history of your Niagara Falls home, Part III: the Census

In If This House Could Talk, Niagara Falls on June 10, 2015 at 2:17 pm

By Michelle Ann Kratts

1905 Census

(Please click on images to make larger)

The state and federal censuses will also help you in your house history research.  You can access the censuses on Ancestry.com (which is available for you to use at the Lewiston Public Library as well as at the Niagara Falls Public Library).  Try searching for the surnames of the families that lived in your house or go page by page.  In a way, looking through the census reports will allow you to see your home as it was on that day that the census was taken.  Census enumerators went house to house and they asked the questions that were listed on the forms and recorded the answers on the census.  For Niagara Falls we can use the following censuses:  1810-1940, 1855-1925, 1892

Information that is on the census varies from year to year.  Some of the information you may see on the censuses includes the following:  street and house number, family groups at the residence, boarders names, color, sex and age, relation of each resident to head of the family, occupations and schooling (by years) on all residents,  marriage year, how many children of this marriage (and how many survived), immigration information, birthplace, occupation, personal description, mother tongue, military information, ownership or rental of home, value of home, if the home is a farm, and the 1930 census even reveals if the home had a radio set.

photo 3

As you can see, the census is a readily available source that must be looked at if you are working on the history of your home.

We were able to follow the residents of our house’s history through many of the censuses available for Niagara Falls.  We were also able to see their neighbors and to get an idea of what the neighborhood “looked like” from a researcher’s point of view in various years.  And it was interesting to note that my husband’s family lived only a few doors away from where we now live.

Our next installment, Part IV, will discuss using vintage New York newspapers for house research–especially http://www.fultonhistory.com.




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