This old house?

On our first viewing of the house we couldn’t¬†immediately¬†peg its age because it was well cared for by the current owners for 30+ years. Also, property records in Brooklyn have a habit of “getting lost” prior to 1920 (the mob had a similar affect on people during the same period, but that’s a whole other story).

There are others ways to prove a homes age, and is a useful tool for this purpose. Census records provide a wealth of knowledge about the inhabitants of cities and neighborhoods, but you can also narrow down a record to a specific address. My logic was simple, if I can find the address and there are 3 families living there (it’s a legal 3-family), then it must have existed at the time the census was taken. While it’s not 100% foolproof, it’s the best I could do.

I started with the 1920 census and worked backward from there. 1920, 1910, 1900, 1890 and 1880 all show the address, each with three families of either Irish or English descent. In 1890, there were an astounding 21 people living in the home which coincides with the growth Brooklyn was experiencing and limited housing inventory at the time.

Unfortunately, the 1870 Federal census did not include addresses so we are left to assume that it was built somewhere between 1855 (when the canal was built) and 1880. The 1880 census record is below: