5 Replies Latest reply on Dec 9, 2021 3:22 PM by Andrew Krause

    Trying to find when and how my postal address was assigned

    Andrew Krause Wayfarer

      I am trying to find postal records that indicate when and how the street and number address were assigned to my farm (before I owned it) sometime between 1965 – 1975 when the street first appears in telephone books and Criss-Cross directories for the first time.  This information is vital for a lawsuit that has been filed against me.  My farm has access to 2 PRIVATE roads currently named Akehurst Rd. and Abell Ln. Our home is at 1940 Akehurst Rd, Sparks-Glencoe, Maryland 21152 and the address of our farm apartments are 2121 Abell Ln. – all on one parcel of property.  The farm was under Rural Free Delivery (RFD) and in various telephone directories former residents of this farm were listed simply in “Sparks”, “Glencoe” or “Yeoho Rd. which is the nearest public road that both Akehurst and Abell connect to.  The owners during the origination of the address were Frederick J. Beste, Jr. and Virginia H. Beste but the former is deceased and Virginia and other relatives I contacted have no recollection.  If you have no collections that can assist me, any advice as to who or where I can get this information would be most appreciated.

        • Re: Trying to find when and how my postal address was assigned
          Keith Northington Adventurer



          It always helps when you have a query, to be sure to post the county that applies to your search--in this case it is Baltimore (which does not have a county), so you should have mentioned this is in Baltimore City, Maryland.


          (1) There are Rural Route Cards (1896-1970's) available at the NARA archives in Washington, DC.

          Rural route cards (1896-1970s), filed by post office, list route lengths and establishment dates, and names, dates of service, and salaries of rural carriers.


          (2) Try doing some searches in this database after you create a login and a password:




          (3) Contact the Baltimore City Archives (2615 Mathews St., Baltimore, MD 21210)by phone at (410) 396-3884 or email at msa.bca@maryland.gov to see if they have suggestions for places you could search.


          (4) HISTORIAN


          475 L'ENFANT PLAZA SW

          WASHINGTON DC 20260-0012


          Make a request for information to phistory@usps.gov




          Could you please try to explain exactly what it is you are looking for:  an indication of what date that the street names were first assigned, or something else?  Is there a specific document that you think will be most helpful or are you uncertain about that?



            • Re: Trying to find when and how my postal address was assigned
              Andrew Krause Wayfarer

              Thank you for your help Keith.


              First, Baltimore County is a separate entity from Baltimore City which is not subsumed by it.  I apologize for not making that clear.


              I have looked into NARA but could never find anything establishing the addresses on my farm other than, like the Criss-Cross directories and phone books from the period, referencing the people who lived here as simply either living in Sparks, Glencoe, or Yeoho Rd (nearest public road).  I've also previously researched the land records you linked and others.  I also hired an abstractor who also pulled land records from neighbors and going back 50 years to investigate the history of the property.  i also know from old map and aerial photos that my property had access, potentially exclusive access for many years, via Abell Ln and not Akehurst Rd.


              My main concern is to find evidence that my 2121 Abell Ln address was legally established at some point or, in lieu of that, that my 1940 Akehurst Rd address lacks the same evidence of official establishment of the same kind.  I don't want to go into all the details but this is due to a lawsuit from neighbors who are saying I and my tenants do not have the right to use Abell Ln.  I have a strong case and lots of other evidence to support both a record easement (which is admittedly ambiguous from land records studied by my lawyer) and a prescriptive easement but it would be additionally helpful to show some official acknowledgment of 2121's historical legal status.  I recently contacted many agencies within Baltimore County government and discovered that there is an agency within the permit and development department that assigns these street numbers.  But they have no records for either of my addresses and according to the person I spoke to there, they do not save or archive everything - so I may be screwed.  That can't even tell me under exactly what category my info may be archived within the Maryland State Archives, if it is archived there at all.  I suspect it is archived someplace but identifying an exact microfilm from countless permit records is very daunting.  I haven't found tools to narrow that down yet.  But ultimately what I want is some permit or authorization by a government body that preferably creates or at least acknowledges the "official" or "legal" status of 2121 Abell Ln (and 1940 Akehurst Rd) and provides the earliest date when that arose.


              I contacted the historian you indicated as well as another at the Smithsonian Postal Museum and Library.  They were the first ones who told me the post office would likely not have the info I needed but that my local County government should.  But I haven't given up on postal information.  So far, old telephone books and Criss-Cross directories are the best evidence I have for the earliest transition from RFD to actual street numbers - occurring in the mid-1970s it appears.


              Thanks again for your help

              • Re: Trying to find when and how my postal address was assigned
                Keith Northington Adventurer


                The private roads may have gotten their names when the city or county transitioned to Enhanced-911 services, which required landline phone numbers to be associated with an address number and street name.

                You might contact the county GIS department to ask if anyone there knows a history of private roads being named:


                Assigning addresses and names to rural roads usually happens when something in the county is being computerized. It could also have been the property tax system or a utility billing system. However, since these two dwellings are part of the same parcel, and were given different numbers and street names for their entrances, that makes me think it might have been a way to get a fire truck or ambulance to that specific residence quicker.




              • Re: Trying to find when and how my postal address was assigned
                Julia Jennings-Jarrell Adventurer

                Dear Mr. Krause,

                Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


                We searched the Maryland Land Records website and the first time the address was used on any digitized official documentation was for a mortgage on 12/7/1979 (Book 6613, pp.272-275). We suggest contacting the Maryland State Archives for further help and information as not all land records are available online.


                We also suggest you reach out to the Baltimore County Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections to see if they have any additional information about when and how the street name and house numbers were assigned to your farm.


                We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!

                  • Re: Trying to find when and how my postal address was assigned
                    Andrew Krause Wayfarer

                    Thank you very much Julia.


                    I had not come across that plat - though it is not for my property it may still be helpful.  But i have earlier documents supporting 1940.  It's 2121 Abell Ln. that is really my main concern.


                    You appear to agree with others who sent me to Baltimore County Permits and as you can read in my answer to Keith above, so far that's led to a dead-end.  But I haven't given up.  Another problem is,the farmhouse and barn (which have the 2121 Abell Ln address) on my property actually pre-date the land records of Baltimore County.  On my tax records it says they were built in 1800, which is the earliest it goes.  Moreover, all my tax assessments etc show up under 1940 Akehurst Rd (though on the County's GIS they include the 2121 Abell Ln address grouped with Akehurst).  So they were built before there were permits required or recorded.  I presume they undertook some sort of improvement, even if just to add a septic system in the 1900s, but so far i can't find any records of anything requiring permits until 1984.


                    If you have any other suggestions if would be most appreciated and thanks again for your time.