August 15th, 2013


Genealogy: A Visit to the Boston City Archives

This morning I went to the Boston City Archives to do a little research. I met the archivist, Marta Crilly, at the IAJGS conference last week, and I emailed her a dossier over the weekend detailing what I already knew about Barnett and Ida Green's years in Boston (1887-1891) and what I was hoping to find.

I don't have a lot of time to blog this now, but the short version is: I found Barnett in the Boston tax archives for 1889, 1890, and 1891, at the addresses where I already had him listed in the Boston city directory and in birth records. I could not find him for 1892, which means that they'd already left for New York by May 1 (which is not surprising).

Here, for example, is his listing at 21-23 Fleet Street in the 1890 tax books:

Interestingly, he was not found in the listing for 7 Cherry St. for 1888. Perhaps they were still considered "transients" at that point, and not subject to the poll tax, or perhaps even the Boston tax assessors made mistakes. For a moment, I thought I had found something interesting: There was a Barnat Wolfe listed at that address, with the profession "cutter", but his age was about 20 years too high and I found him in the 1890 book, so he can't be the same person.

I did get a nice perspective though on how close "20 Moon, rear" and "21-23 Fleet" were. In fact, they may not have actually moved when their address changed:

My cart when I was done:

So in the end, I had mostly confirmation of what I already knew, and a few negative results on other lines of inquiry. (For example, no sign of Max in Boston.) Still, I enjoyed exploring the archives and hope to get back there with more questions in the future!