Updated: Feb 3, 2019
Let's take a moment to be thankful that we are living in a time when it is easier than it ever has been to research our family trees. There are documents, photos, books, and who knows what else preserved in this world about our ancestors.
One resource I found to be amazing is HistoricAerials.com. On their site you can type in a name of a town, or even an address, and view satellite imagery of the location. Similar to Google Maps, the difference is that the site has images from previous years. While viewing that location, simply select a different year from the selections you'll see on the left side of the map. You will then be shown the images from that year.
You may see your grandparents' car in their driveway back in 1951, or the former location of your childhood fort in the woods - which is most likely a housing development or strip mall today. It's a rare perspective and your chance to view a place in time lapse.
In the illustration shown here, we see downtown Lakewood, New Jersey, in the four blocks between 6th and 9th streets and Clifton & Lexington Aves. As you can see, a rough baseball diamond is etched out in 1957. Later the snack bar and another field would be added to form the home of Lakewood's Little League Baseball. For many of us who grew up in Lakewood, the baseball field was a place to meet up with friends while enjoying a salted pretzel stick, Jolly Ranchers, Twizzlers, or a pack of Big League Chew and a soda.
The block where the apartment complexes between 8th and 9th streets was nothing but a lot of sand in 1957. The Lakewood Apartments on 8th Street appear in the 1963 image and the Clifton Arms Apartments on 9th Street appeared in the 1972 image.
The Clifton Avenue Grade School also saw some growth. In the 1957 image it was a square building facing Clifton Avenue. In 1972 an addition is seen, and another larger addition was also built afterwards, not shown. This GoogleMap image was taken in 2016, on Clifton Ave, facing the school and looking northeast toward 7th and 8th Streets.