Saturday, August 20, 2016


Providence City Directory, 1919, p. 1081
located via One Rhode Island Family's blog which led to the Internet Archive

Every genealogist and family historian should watch out for negative evidence and when they find it, they should make sure that it is as well documented for future generations so that it will not become fact later on.

I have been working hard all summer on learning as much as I can about my maternal grandfather's business dealings.  Along the way, over the years, I have enlisted the help of many people who have joined this quest. Recently, I have found many quality new-to-me pieces of evidence but this ad in the Providence City Directory of 1913, makes me see red. 

Title Page

Diane Boumenot's One Rhode Island Family is the first place I should have gone looking when I realized that by looking in Cranston, it was NOT enough. Diane's exceptionally fine work was the first place I should have gone. Cyr. St which corners on Montgomery Ave. is on the edge of Providence. I needed to look for evidence in PROVIDENCE. Diane's list sent me to a downloadable PDF of this 1919 Providence City Directory which had an ad. (I love the old ads, don't you?) By the way, Diane's family lived in this area, too.

This is the present day street sign cropped from the Google "street view" so that I can be sure I am looking at the whole street and not just at the junction of the two streets.

I spent an entire day with Google Maps going up and down present day Cyr. St. in Washington Park on the Providence-Cranston city line making sure that the above artist's drawing is NOT how my family business was laid out. The building in the artist's rendering looks plausible because the business did have a side entrance until 1958. There was a smoke stack. There was a fenced in yard behind the original building (called "the Plant"). But, none of the other buildings shown were there. It was a residential area with houses on both sides on Cyr and Montgomery. At least I could enlarge this ad enough to see that it is hand drawn. 

My grandfather took part of the business to Providence early on. He commuted from Westerly to Providence, picking up laundry and dry cleaning round trip. The very earliest I can find is the first store at 285 Weybossett St. in downtown Providence. 

See what I never noticed, the address on the side of the truck shown below? I know that this must have been between 1907 and 1913. I continue to search the City directories for ads and listings. If only this truck could talk. Be careful of artist's renderings!

Family Photo Collection of Midge Frazel, privately held.

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