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Friday, May 30, 2014

Finding a Home of Ancestors in Lincoln, Nebraska with Today's Technology

Today I checked a family tree that I had listed on my,,  member page.  A "shaking leaf" was hovering over the name my husband's great grandmother, Lizzie Hessler Reif.  My heart always leaps when I see one of those leaves, even though I have conditioned myself to keep calm, because most of the time the referenced information does not belong to my specific family member.  Hate when that happens.

I took a deep breath and clicked my way to the hint that thought should be attached to Lizzie.  Well, this time they were correct.  It referenced a listing in the Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska City Directory of 1929.

1929 R. L. Polk & Co., Lincoln City Directory,  page 444

So, I see that the home address was listed as 3093 Vine, and Lizzie was correctly noted as the widow of H. J. (Henry Jacob Reif).  Now that I have an address, I can use today's technology to find the location of this house.  I used,,  to find the location by typing in the address on the home search page.  The location of the home quickly appeared on my computer screen.  This address is on a corner lot.,-Lincoln-NE_rb/
I noticed that the home was currently not for sale, but the statistics of the home were available, including the number of bedrooms, number of baths, square footage of the home and the lot, and it's current value (according to Zillow statistics).  

On the right side of the page, a general information box repeats the same information, but lists the date that the home was built....1910.  OK, now this is getting interesting.  

I clicked on the "County Website" link and was able to view the current information from the Lancaster County Assessor / Register of Deeds.  There is a GIS tab to view the current photo of the home:

3093 Vine Street, Lincoln, Lancaster, Nebraska as of 2014
close up of the home address, 3093 Vine Street

Wonderful! What a great looking house.  But, I wonder what it looked like in years past.  After all, it was built in 1910, and I'm sure that it didn't always look this good.  Let's see what I can find by reviewing more information from the County Assessors website.  

Property image dated 2005 - 9 - 7
So this is what it looked like in 2005, before the latest improvements were made to the property.  The owner did a fine job of rehabbing this home, and should be very proud of their efforts.  

The property was last sold in 2009, and the County Assessor has posted the recent sales history of the property.
By selecting the instrument numerals by sales date, you will be able to see the details of the sales, from both 2009 and 2005, which include the names of Grantors and Grantees.  I won't post those on this blog, due to my personal feelings about privacy, but they are a matter of public record and can be viewed by the public, free of charge from the Lancaster Assessor report. In addition, the Lancaster County Treasurer has posted the tax payments for this parcel by the owners since 1998, and can be viewed at  I guess you can't hide anything anymore.  

A property status sheet is included by the County Assessor, which shows a history of building permits and inspections for this property :
All of this information about the home of Lizzie Hessler Reif, which started from a shaking leaf on the family tree from has given me a glimpse into the neighborhood of this woman who was the great grandmother of my husband.  Hmmm. I wonder what he will think when I show him what I've uncovered for his family tree.  

Lesson : check each shaking leaf.  And, take what you have to the unlimited resources on the Internet.  You just might uncover some really neat stuff.  

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