Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Not So Wordless Wednesday – Peter Hoogerzeil’s House in Beverly, Massachusetts

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 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 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

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. lamp chimney stove oven wheelbarrow

UPDATE 2011, now you can use Google Patent Search to find any patent by number or inventor's name.  Just go to


Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. Love the house. Was he the original owner? Wonder if the current owners would like this information. Too bad abt. the darn electrical wires, with there was a way to cut them out!

  2. Barbara, this was a very urban part of town, so I'm lucky that it was only a few wires in the photo. It could have been worse. I don't know much about the house, other than the address. There was a barn nearby, I wonder if he used it for his business or his inventing?

  3. Thanks for giving the link to this post. I love it! What a clever use of technology! Plus it is amazing where we find genealogical help!