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1940 Census brings a family stories to life…and brings us closer to our grandparents

Early in their marriage my grandparents lived in Washington, D.C., having moved there from Philadelphia as newlyweds.  Growing up in nearby Maryland, I remember listening to stories of their time in the capital. They both had fond memories of going to the National Zoo, and poignant recollections of being at stadium watching the Redskins play the Eagles at Griffiths Stadium on Pearl Harbor Day.

When my husband and I moved to Washington as newlyweds, we tried to locate my grandparents’ former residence.  My grandfather had passed away by that time and all my grandmother could tell us was that she lived in a townhouse on Irving Street near 16th Street.

Today, I found them on the 1940 Census.  With their address, I was able to locate the house they lived in-still standing and about 15 minutes from my own home. I can now compare it to photos I have of them sitting on the same front porch more than 70 years ago.

On the census record is also the name of the family from whom my grandparents rented their apartment.  One of these is a two-year-old girl called Diane, whom my nineteen-year-old grandmother was so taken with that, six years later she named her own daughter-my mother-after her.  

Finding my grandparents on the census brought treasured family stories to life and makes me feel even closer to the grandparents I have loved and lost.