Just down the Street


According to Google Maps, it was a three-minute walk from 655 W 61st Street to 538 W 61st Street in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood.

The other day I wondered about the possibility of my 2nd great-grandmother Elise Mueller and her brother John N. Schmitt attending the same church.

I knew they lived near one another (and their sister Anna), but until I saw the photo below I didn’t realize just how near one another they were.

2015 05-30 Neighbors

Unfortunately the house Jacob and Elise Mueller bought in 1891 has since been torn down. But thanks to Google’s street level pictures, I could see what John and Clara Schmitt’s house looks like now. It’s the cute yellow house hiding behind a tree:

2015 05-30 Yellow house is John Schmitt's

Google satellite gave me a bird’s eye view of the property owned by the Schmitt’s:

2015 05-30 2nd house is John Schmitt's

With these pictures in hand, I’ll have to take another look at the family photos shared by my favorite Schmitt cousin.

We may be able to determine who hosted a gathering or two!

Have you Googled your ancestors lately?



7 thoughts on “Just down the Street

  1. I agree–the house at the address and longitude/latitude was a modern ranch house. Obviously not the home the family had come from in 1875! It was on an island, with several ferries needed to get to any sizable town. It was, however, just one ferry ride to the church all the family had been baptized at, helping me understand that facet of the family’s life. I could see the view they saw, and how isolated the area still is today. Beautiful scenery, lots of thick forests and fjords, with low mountains. This family ended up on the prairies of ND, and I wondered if they got homesick for the beauty of their homeland. They were farmers, and did much better financially in ND until mid Depression. When the War started, the women came to Seattle to work in war industries as “Rosie the Riveter.” This area really does look like the part of Norway the parents in this family knew. That’s one reason Seattle has so many Norwegians and other Scandinavians.


  2. Having this tool makes me even more sad that 25 years ago my mother and sister tossed old pictures when they couldn’t immediately identify the people in them. I kept pleading for them to give the pictures to me–by the clothing they were late 19th c. My mother had living cousins in WI and MN, who might have recognized their parents’ generation. Worse, almost all those pictures were taken outside the front porches of houses! Some of them might well be around today, and Google street view or bird’s eye view could help identify at least a few of the places. That would give me a start on some of the people who lived in them.

    One of my Norwegian great aunts married a man from a Norwegian farm with a very distinctive farm name. Google maps located it for me, and the street view told me why his family emigrated. The farm name meant “poor land” and indeed the surface was mostly glacial scrapes of rock. I don’t mean rocks you could pick out of the soil, I mean *all* rock, in sheets scraped clean by glaciers. There was virtually no soil to cultivate. In this case, the only thing better than Google street view would have been a trip there.


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