Who’s Been Sleeping in Your House? (Researching House Histories)

By Denise Vogt


The 1950 census is available for everyone to view on a free, dedicated website from the National Archives: 1950census.archives.gov. This is terrific news for everyone in Foggy Bottom and the FBA History Project. Now we have the opportunity to learn more about the people who lived in our homes, their names, ages and occupations. Thanks to FBA and FBWE Village member Lorna Grenadier, we have an easier path forward to research our houses. According to Lorna, there area few steps to take to get you to our neighborhood.

  1. First you need the map to identify the Washington, D.C. census tracts (Foggy Bottom includes census tracts 54, 55, 56, 57). See https://catalog.archives.gov/id/18655909

  2. Zoom in on the map the locate the area of interest, e.g., Foggy Bottom. Washington, D.C. has 1,318 Enumerated Districts (ED), identified by a yellow number on the map. E.g., the Foggy Bottom Historic District includes EDs 1-287, 1-288, and 1-290.

  3. Scroll through the census records for that enumerated district. https://1950census.archives.gov/search/?county=Washington&page=3&size=100&state=DC. Not all of the names are searchable but having the tract/ ED helps to locate people.

We find 2417 I St. NW at ED 1-288, pp. 14-15. Thanks to the census takers, we now know that in 1950, the Alex A. Aken family lived here, including two sons, wives, and eight grandchildren. Mr. Aken was African American and originally from South Carolina. He worked as a janitor for the Arnold Bus Company. https://cptdb.ca/topic/14482-wvm-coach-company-282/

Excerpt from the 1950 Census data for 2417 I St, NW, Washington, D.C.

Save the information you find! It will be a great addition to the upcoming project on association’s FBHD House History database. https://www.foggybottomassociation.org/house-histories

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