Friday, February 07, 2014


1948 City Directory, cropped and collaged 


I was so disappointed when I saw this 1948 listing for the Cranston, Rhode Island City Directory. City directories, like phone books, are artifacts of the past. The information in them is of the previous year. The Cranston City Directories were not published every year. If you are looking for a death date you will have to look in the year ahead and hope it was recorded. That's how I found Mr. Melocarro's death date of 5 April, 1955 in the 1956 Cranston City Directory. (The symbols on the left part of this collage are discussed in an upcoming post)

I know now that my parents moved in to the house in October, 1947 so I thought they would be listed. It might be that the information for the city directories is gathered in the winter. It occurs to me that a study of all of the streets of "The Plat" in 1948 will give me a snapshot of which streets were finished first. I can guess that Oak Hill Drive was the first street since it was called Oak Hill Terrace but I know that Mr. Melocarro hired a lot of men to quickly build houses. My mother told me it was very noisy in those first two years and it was hard to get me to nap as an infant.

Last August it was my pleasure to help my friend, Maureen Taylor with a Legacy Family Webinar about Directing Your Research with City Directories. I have had so much success with researching my Rhode Island family that lived in Westerly by using this valuable and often mesmerizing resource. The ads alone of my family business (still can't date this photo) kept me engaged in research for hours.  

Not finding information that you expected to find can be so disappointing. However, I forged ahead to the next years and was rewarded by several years of the streets in "The Plat". 

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