Locating a Person from 1946
April 5, 2008 8:52 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for a person who lived in North Hollywood, CA in 1946. I have a specific address, but have exhausted all methods that I can think of (i.e., online databases, city records, interview of neighbors, etc.). Any other ideas?
posted by gm2007 to Grab Bag (12 answers total)
I'm confused: do you know who this person was, and you're looking for where they might be now (or where they went after 1946)? Or do you just have an address and date, and need a name to go with it?
posted by rtha at 9:00 PM on April 5, 2008

County records, state records, census, private investigator.
posted by flug at 9:12 PM on April 5, 2008

Old telephone books. See if you can follow the person "through time" to former/newer addresses.
posted by user92371 at 10:01 PM on April 5, 2008

Did they own the house? If so, there are plenty of property ownership records; taxes, deeds, permits.

If you're serious, a private investigator could probably get this done for you in a few hours.
posted by Nelson at 8:23 AM on April 6, 2008

Census records from that era are not currently available. With a 72-year release rule in place, it means that the latest Federal Census open to the public is 1930. In rare exceptions, and I can't remember what the requirements are, the government occasionally makes later Census data available, but this isn't an easy thing to do and probably impossible if you cannot prove a family relationship with the individual you seek.

Since Ancestry.com is a fee-based service, you may be able to access 1930 and earlier census records for free through your public library if they have a HeritageQuest online subscription. The National Archives has local records centers around the country, and depending upon your location, there may be other archives or libraries which have Census on microfilm.

Good luck with your search. Sounds like an interesting challenge!
posted by kuppajava at 8:31 AM on April 6, 2008

Response by poster: I have the address and the approximate date (I know I have the right year), and I have teh full name. The person was renting. I've already used PI's and the person seems to disappear at this address.
posted by gm2007 at 10:52 AM on April 6, 2008

from that era i would try the Social Security Death Index . if the person your looking for was a veteran, i'd also have a look at the VA gravesite locator.

of course, none of these would be relevant if the person you seek is still alive.
posted by garfy3 at 10:53 AM on April 6, 2008

How about figuring out if any of the former neighbors are still alive and able to give you some leads? It's a longshot but you could search for adjacent addresses in old databases and see whether you have more luck with those names.

(Also, I'm just dying to know the backstory on this. My mind is full of awesome plots: Do you live in the house and as part of a reonvation you've found evidence of a grisly crime? Or maybe a huge amount of money hidden away? Or maybe you believe this person is your long-lost mother/father?)
posted by drmarcj at 12:19 PM on April 6, 2008

What context did you know the person in? If you knew them well enough, perhaps you can remember some mutual friends or other people who may be easier to find and be able to give you some more information on the person you're trying to track down?
posted by david06 at 6:51 PM on April 6, 2008

Secondly: is there any chance the person may have moved out of the country? I can see how that might make someone simply vanish if all you're searching is US-centric databases, which might be the case even if you hired a PI. Of course, if it seems like this is a possibility then things get far more complex.
posted by david06 at 6:53 PM on April 6, 2008

I've had family in North Hollywood since about 1950. If you want to MeFiMail me what what you know I can pass it to my grandmother. She might be able to help especially if they attended Saint Charles on Moorpark Road.
posted by sideshow at 1:24 PM on April 11, 2008

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