Monday, June 25, 2012

Help from the Other Side, Part III

See my previous posts for the backstory on this one, but I finally found the time to post the process of finding my great-grand uncle's home that he lived in when he was a Kansan in the 1950s and 1960s.

Through a search on FamilySearch.org, I was able to find the death certificate (full original image and all) for Martin Witbeck. He and his wife had two sons, and one of them was living in North Carolina.

While visiting his son there in 1962, Martin had an unexpected heart attack and passed away. He was only 63 years old. This doesn't surprise me because the Witbeck side of my family has a huge family history of heart problems.

The death certificate listed Martin's son as the informant for the death. And also listed was Martin's home address in Prairie Village, Kansas. I covered the address with a gray box because the house is still there, and I didn't want to cause the current owner any issues with having their home address published on a blog.

A few weeks ago, I went ahead and took a drive up north to that area, which was just one street over from State Line Road (the boundary line between Kansas and Missouri in that part of the city). It's definitely an older neighborhood, but very, very nice. It has big, towering trees lining the narrow streets, and it was very quiet. All of the houses have been extremely well taken care of. It is one of those pre-HOA era neighborhoods where the homes were anything but cookie-cutter. They each had a different layout and character. Some were brick, some had stone facades, and many had a combination of siding and brick or stone. There were columns on some, turrets on others, wrap-around porches on a few, and they were all beautifully constructed!

In fact, I was sure I was going to get pulled over and arrested just for driving a Toyota instead of a BMW. Add to that the fact that I was slowing down to take a picture of the home, and I'm lucky I didn't end up booked on stalking or harassment charges. Is there a charge for being too economically challenged in a ritzy neighborhood? Well, luckily, I had a getaway driver (kind of - my mother), but I still didn't want to spend a ton of time (or risk my felony-free record) getting out of the car and standing on the sidewalk to get a better picture. So this is the best I could do.

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