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I am looking for the resident of 42-42 Union St, Flushing, Queens, NY in 1940. I tried searching the 1940 census ancestry.com, restricting the search to Flushing with the street name as union (exact). I came up with 70 matches, some on Union Street, and others on Union Turnpike, but the Union Street house numbers were mostly 46-xx, 47-xx, and a couple of 45-xxs. Nothing higher, nothing lower. Removing Flushing from the city constraint does not help much: it returns a couple of families on Union Hall street, and one on Union Tpke

I have tried to use http://stevemorse.org/ to find the right enumeration district, but it doesn't seem to have a viable street-level index for Queens.

Is this a case of poor indexing? Where are the other addresses on Union street? How do I find them?

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How do you know the person you are looking for was a residence of 42-42 Union St, Flushing, in 1940? City directory? Correspondence? –  GeneJ Nov 19 '12 at 14:19
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4 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I'm adding a new answer since I found the address. The info that I posted in my previous answer is still useful to know for future reference, but it's not related to how I found the address.

It was actually very easy to find the ED for this address, and the steps that I'm going to post below are the standard method for finding census EDs for a given address. When I answered previously, I had assumed that you already tried this method and were looking for alternate solutions because the address itself didn't exist. As it turns out, the address did indeed exist.

Using www.stevemorse.org along with Google maps is the way to do this.

1) Look up 42-42 Union Street, Flushing, NY in Google maps. Zoom in and you'll see that the section of Union Street where this address is located is bounded by the following streets: Kissena Blvd, Sanford Ave, Bowne St, Franklin Ave.

2) Go to the Unified 1940 Census ED Finder at www.stevemorse.org

3) Select State = New York, County = Queens, City = Queens, Street = Union

4) Enter House Number = 42-42

5) Select the streets identified in the first step in the "cross or back street" fields, one at a time

6) Final result: ED = 41-915

Click the hyperlinked ED, and you'll then be presented with options to view the ED images at your favorite 1940 census website. Browse the pages of the ED until you see 42-42 Union.

I found the address on Sheet 3A, just 5 pages into the ED. There's a Heller family living at the address, with a maid Annie Bennett. Here's a direct link to the image on the NARA website.

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Thanks! I did start with stevenmorse.org but for some reason wasn't able to find the info on it. Odd. –  Gene Golovchinsky Nov 25 '12 at 16:24
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Queens went through some fairly extensive street name changes in the past. Stevemorse.org has a page for street name changes in Queens.

If Union Street is the "new" name, see Table 2: New Name to Old Name -- you'll find that part of Union Street in Flushing was previously known as Whitestone Avenue, and part was known as Phillips Avenue.

Unfortunately, the table doesn't say when the street names changed, so this may or may not be relevant in your case.

Forgotten New York also has a page about Union Street, which you might find interesting. There's mention of the change from Whitestone Ave to Union Street just past the halfway point of the page. Phillips Ave is not mentioned.

Union Street takes a jog to the northeast, and changes character again, after crossing Northern Boulevard. Originally this part of Union Street used to bear the name Whitestone Avenue [...]

Whitestone Avenue probably became Union Street when many other area streets were assigned numbers, and the whole house numbering scheme was changed. [...]

You wonder, why bother extending Union Street along Whitestone Avenue’s old path, but that’s an over 80-year-old story now, and the issue has been decided.

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The thing is, is that I got that address from a contemporary record: from a 1940 ship's manifest, dated 4 Nov 1940. And I couldn't find any other street addresses for Union St. other than the ones I mentioned above. It seems odd... –  Gene Golovchinsky Nov 19 '12 at 17:22
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I found a resource that may be useful to people searching for old street names of Manhattan. The author says, "Other books describe the origins of current Manhattan place names, but they don't include the former names or the historic streets that no longer exist." I know you're searching for Queens, but maybe you could contact the author and see if he can lead you to some similar resources for Queens?

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For 1940 NYC, if you know the person's name and can't read the street name, in addition to Stephen P. Morse's One-Step Tool for street name changes, there's the New York Public Library's DirectMe 1940 project. It has downloadable directories for all five boroughs, and you can comment on entries, and read stories left by other NYC residents about their families. directme.nypl.org –  Jan Murphy Dec 9 '13 at 15:33
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The type of buildings displayed in a modern Google search for 42-42 Union look to me to date from after the 1940s. (There seems an astonishing number of condos for sale?)

Is it possible that the area was undergoing redevelopment at the time of Census and that there was no residential building there at the time?

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I got the 42-42 address from a 4 Nov 1940 ship's manifest, so it seems likely that it existed at the time. –  Gene Golovchinsky Nov 19 '12 at 17:23
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