House For Rent

Classified advertisements sometimes can provide perspective into a specific time period (gender expectations and salary levels can be among the discoveries one makes), but sometimes then can provide additional clues to specific people as well.

Matilda Trautvetter of Quincy, Illinois, had a home to rent in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, in 1953.  Classified advertisements were necessarily succinct as payment was by the word. Extra details will not be included as brevity lowers the charge for placing the advertisement.

One has to be careful not reading too much into this advertisement for that very reason. Classified ads get to the heart of the matter–other details increase cost. While it is probable that Matilda lived on 14th Street in Quincy as a permanent residence, it is possible that she was just staying there temporarily and that the address was short-term. A search of Quincy city directories for the 1950 time period may confirm the length of her residence there.

It is most likely Trautvetter owned the home in Mt. Vernon or was closely related to the actual owner. It’s possible that she and a husband used live there and had retained the home after their move. She may never have lived in Mt. Vernon.

A search of local land records for the time period may be warranted. There is a significant distance between Mt. Vernon and Quincy. Why Matilda was the contact for renting the property needs to be determined.

One needs to be careful conjecturing too far based upon one advertisement.

Use the additional records it suggests (city directories and additional newspapers would be a good place start) and see where the information leads.

Who would have thought an ad looking for a tenant could be a genealogical clue?




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