One recent day I told my husband we were going to photograph my 2xgreat grandparent’s house . Now, remember, this all started with just wanting a picture of a house. After all, it's supposed to be Wordless Wednesday.
My mother remembered the address in Beverly where her grandparents, Peter and Mary Hoogerzeil, lived on Bartlett Street, Beverly, Massachusetts. She said my great great grandfather owned an “express business”, which was basically a moving company. I found the house on Google maps street view, and we used a GPS device to find the address for the photograph above. There’s technology at work here!
I also used technology to learn more about Peter Hoogerzeil. On Ancestry.com I had seen his name and address on a scanned image of the 1898 Beverly City Directory. By serendipity, on the same page there was an advertisement "Hoogerzeil Express Company" and also an advertisement for one of Peter Hoogerzeil’s inventions, a cooking pot. I used the patent number on the advertisement to search on the US Patent and Trademark Office website.
You can see the patent for the cooking pot here at this link. Click on images to see the report.
The US Patent and Trademark Office http://www.uspto.gov/ has an online database for all patents since 1790, searchable by patent numbers. You can search by name for patents since 1976. You can use the Public Search Facility in Alexandria, Virginia at this link http://www.uspto.gov/products/library/search/index.jsp
There is a nationwide network of Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries (PTDLs) that offer access to patent and trademark reference materials and search tools. The closest one to me is the Boston Public Library. You can call 800-786-9199 to locate one near you. This is the only way to find the patent numbers listed under an ancestor’s name. Using the Boston Public Library indexes I was able to find over twenty patents listed under the name Peter Hoogerzeil. So, you can't depend on technology for everything- sometimes you have to actually get out to libraries to do some research. That's where I found the really great details!
So, I started out just wanting to take a photo of Peter Hoogerzeil’s house, and now I know a lot more about him! You can click on the links below to see several more of his patents, just click on the button marked images to see the complete report.
http://patft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?patentnumber=631211 lamp chimney
http://patft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?patentnumber=418721 stove oven
UPDATE 2011, now you can use Google Patent Search to find any patent by number or inventor's name. Just go to https://www.google.com/?tbm=pts
Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo