Federal censuses can be helpful in finding people.  These are available on the internet.

Always check with the New England Historic Genealogy Society

Biographies of many former Dorchester residents can be found on the Dorchester Atheneum website

In addition Boston Directories are helpful in tracing people.  The Society does not own directories, but the Library in the Massachusetts State House has a good collection.

Voting lists may be helpful.  These are available on the Boston Public Library's website

The Dorchester Historical Society owns Dorchester Blue Books that show residents who were willing to be listed in both street order and alphabetical order.  The Society owns the following years:  1885-86, 1894, 1896, 1900,  1902, 1904, 1906, 1908, 1910, 1913 (includes Roxbury), 1915.

Personal Stories

Personal histories are a valuable source of information about life in Dorchester. For some personal histories supplied by Dorchester residents, see below:

Mary Murray, formerly Mary C Jacopo, recalls life in Uphams Corner

I was born in Dorchester on Dean Street, December 15, 1936, then moved to West Cottage Street as a baby, then moved again when I was one or two years old to 49 Brook Avenue. I lived with my great grandfather (99 years of age) my grandfather, grandmother, my mother and father and my 2 brothers, all living in 4 rooms. There was no heat except in the kitchen from the black kitchen stove; there was no hot water on the third floor; there was no ice box. My grandparents came from Italy and couldn't speak English. We lived in a six unit apartment house on the third floor, and it was very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter. I remember the gas lamp post across the street from my apartment - three apartments on each side of a wooden building.

It was hard to get the oil can filled. My mother had to go to a little store on the corner on Cottage Street to get oil. It was very hard to get. News people came through and took a picture of me telling my great grandfather in Italian about the oil and how hard it was to get. I remember the air raids, and we had to pull the shades down, no lights. We were poor, on welfare, due to my mother and father both being sick. Food stamps helped a little to buy bread, milk and cheese, but no meats or sweets.

Then we moved to 101 Brook Avenue the other part of Brook Avenue (Brook Avenue was shaped like a horse shoe). When we got an ice box, Louie, the ice man, used to bring the dripping ice up to the 3rd floor and put it in the ice box. Before that we put food out on the porch.

I remember the man across the street delivered milk with a horse and wagon. I remember the popcorn cart coming around, and the rag man yelling "any old rags?" I used to visit the cobbler with my grandmother, who knew them, and they would speak in Italian. We knew all the neighbors. We walked everywhere even to Carson Beach, sometimes two times a day.

John L. Sullivan, the boxer, lived on Victor Street. I remember Bing Crosby came to visit him, because Bing was making a movie about Sullivan. Sullivan lived around my area about the 1920s, before my time. I don't think his house on Victor Street is there any more. We walked up Dudley Street to Uphams Corner to the Strand. St. Paul's was my church, and I belonged to the CYO at St. Kevin's. I went to the Hawthorne School, John Winthrop School, Campbell, Girls High School. Occasionally we went to Charlie's Spa for ice cream, but not often. I used to get a bagel in a garage for 2 cents. There was a five and ten store, and the Mary Hannon playground was nearby. I remember the Red Raiders football team and Randon the boxer. I remember walking to the City Hospital. We had the Dennison House too. We used to go to the Drake's Bakery and to Franklin Park.

There was an A&P market across from Brook Avenue on Dudley Street. The Ideal Movie Theater was there, and the Ideal sandwich store for sandwiches next to the theater. I remember watching the people dance in the school yard at the Hawthorne School on Howard Avenue and remember going to the library at Uphams Corner. The Fuller Brush used to come around. I married, lived in Roslindale 3 1/2 years and moved to Stoughton where we lived 42 years. I am now in a private senior housing on Route 138 in Canton. We had 5 children, all born at St. Margaret's Hospital. I lost a daughter 7 years ago at age 47. And my husband 34 years ago.

I also remember going to the drug store when I was older and sat the counter and had a drink. I remember getting some song sheets and sitting on the stirs with my girl friends and singing the songs. I remember looking out the windows and seeing the gas light lamp post. I remember going to Upham's Corner to pay 12 cents for life insurance. I remember my mother scrubbing clothes on a wash board and putting starched curtains on a wooden form. You had to press the curtains on the pins which hurt your fingers. Once in a great while I could get a vanilla ice cream for 5 cents, the best ever. After that time it never tasted as good. The store was Morgan's on Dudley Street. We were on welfare and got food stamps for milk, bread, flour, butter but no steaks, cakes or ice cream. We also received a voucher from St. Paul's Church for food. The police men would walk the beat, and you got to know them.

I lost my mother when I was 16 and my father when I was 18. My father's relatives were the proprietors of Blanchard's Liquor Store. My mother was from Canada and came here at about 28 years of age. I remember a men in the apartment building used to work for a candy company, maybe Schraffts and used to give me a small box of Dots candy (4 pieces in a small box) once in a while. I also remember my mother going to out to use a pay phone. Our first and only TV was given to one of my brothers from Father Galvin and his friends. I think it was a 12-inch, and we couldn't see the picture too well. My brother had T.B. and was in the hospital for 1 1/2 years. My father was also sick. I also remember on Mother's Day you could wear a carnation, either white or pink, made of out paper, the color depending on whether your mother was alive or had died. I remember the trolley cars.

So much is gone. It was hard then but a better time. I do miss how it was.


Mary C. Murray (formerly Mary C. Jacoppo)

1 Stagecoach Road

Canton, MA 02021

was Mary C. Jacoppo, born Dec. 15, 1936


The Great John L. - 1945 biographical drama film from Bing Crosby Productions about John L. Sullivan, heavyweight champion of the world from 1882 to 1892.

Census 1940

28 West Cottage Street

Settimo Jacoppo, 67, b. Italy

Gaetana Jacoppo, wife, 32, b. Italy

Guy Jacoppo, son, 32, b. Massachusetts, piano trimer

Mazie Jacoppo, b. Nova Scotia, daughter-in-law, 35

John Jacoppo, grandson, 7, b. Mass

Charles Jacoppo, grandson, 5, b. Mass

Mary Jacoppo, granddaughter, 3, b. Mass


Boston City Directory 1943 - Guy is at 49 Brook Avenue

1940 Guy (Mary) and Settimo (Guitana) are at 28 West Cottage

1941 28 West Cottage

1942 49 Brook Ave

1943 49 Brook Ave

1944 Guy is a clerk at Carl's Modern Fruit Market - no residence given

1946 Guy is a clerk at Carl's Modern Fruit Market - no residence given

Ideal movie theater was located at 530 Dudley Street, between Albion and Burrell Streets.

Drake's Bakery on Quincy Street west of Blue Hill Avenue

From Wikipedia: Denison House was established in 1892 as one of the earliest branches of the College Settlements Association. The CSA had been founded in 1887 by a small group of Wellesley College faculty and alumnae including noted pacifist Emily Greene Balch and labor organizer Vida Scudder. In 1942, Denison House relocated to Dorchester, where it occupied several local buildings before moving into the former Howard Avenue School in 1949. In 1965 it merged with Little House, Dorchester House, and the Columbia Point Youth Center to form the Federated Dorchester Neighborhood Houses (FDNH), which became College Bound Dorchester in 2010. The original site of the woman-run Denison House on Tyler Street, now occupied by apartment buildings, is a stop on the Chinatown/South Cove walk of the Boston Women's Heritage Trail.

Rendon boxer - possibly Lino Rendon


Patrick T. Campbell School, renamed Martin Luther King Jr. School, 77 Lawrence Avenue


Priscilla (Harper) Gimple recalls the Daly Industrial School on Pope's Hill

My name is Priscilla (Harper) Gimple. I was born in 1931. My relatives lived in Dorchester as early as 1926. I attended the Daly Industrial School on Train Street in Dorchester for 4 years. For two years I boarded there, and for the other 2 I was a day student.I was born in Newton and lived in Waban until I was six. I am one of four children, 2 boys and 2 girls. My older brother was William and younger brother was John. My sister Edith (now Morian) was born in 1933 in Newton Wellesley Hospital also. My mother did not survive my sister's birth due to complications. She was 33. My father was 2 generations older. She was the secretary in business, and they fell in love. We lived in a Tudor-style home in Waban, and we had everything. Then the Depression hit us, and we ended by losing our home and fortune. We were then all split up. My grandmother, who lived in Boston at the time, took in my sister. My brother and I went to live with an aunt in Dorchester. We lived with her on Westmoreland Street and made our First Communion at St. Brendan's Church. We were moved around a lot. Eventually we all ended up with my grandmother who became legal guardian to all of us. We then attended the Cathedral school nearby except my oldest brother, who went to English High School. Soon it was decided we should to to boarding school. In 1943 my brother went to the Working boys Home, and my sister and I were sent to the Daly Industrial School in Dorchester. My sister, who wasn't happy there, stayed only one year.She missed my grandmother and went back to live with her. My oldest brother also stayed with my grandmother and eventually joined the Navy towards the end of the War

When the Second World War broke out, the government contacted my father who then worked at the Fore River shipyards during the war. Before I was born, he had represented a fleet of coastal ships out of Boston. Her certainly knew ships, and I wrote a biography of him.

The name of the principal at the Daly was Sr. Rose Patrice, and she ruled with an iron hand. Everyone was afraid of her, and no-one dared to cross her. The Sisters of Saint Joseph were the same order that we had at the Cathedral.

Some of the names were: Sr. Margaret Edward, who taught 8th grade, Sr. Charlotte, the 9th, Sr. Redemptus, the 10th and Sr. Veronica the 11th. The school went only to the 11th grade. All the basics were taught including French, Latin, English, etc. My favorite teacher was Sr. Veronica.

Life at the school was generally uneventful. I remember once during the time I boarded there that we had an outbreak of head lice! Everyone was forced to have DDT put on their heads and wrapped up, regardless of whether we had contracted the lice or not. We found out the infestation was brought in by two new boarders.

Sometimes my friend Clair Pintel and I were asked if we would go over to the nuns' residence and cut hosts for Mass on Sunday.We jumped at the chance. When the nun would leave the room, w sneaked pieces of the host material and chewed it! We thought that was fun, as we knew it wasn't consecrated. We were not supposed to do that, and if we had been caught, we would have lost the privilege of stamping out the hosts with the manual stamper.

Another incident occurred when I was in the dining room after the dinner meal. We were asked to be quiet, but a girl at another table said something funny, and I snickered. The nun in charge of the dining room came over to me and clapped me as she could across my face. I had been there only 2 days, and I had never been it in the face my whole life of 13 years. I will never forget it. I didn't give her the satisfaction of crying. Actually, I was very embarrassed as I hadn't gotten to know anybody yet.

Evening prayers were said in the chapel every night. Each student was issued a white chapel veil when she came to board at the school, along with a number that had to be printed on the veil and everything else she owned. I liked chapel.

Every night I would look out the window and see Dorchester. It was comforting because I would think of my aunt who lived a short distance from the school and would come to visit me on Sundays. I knew Dorchester fairly well by then.

I stayed at the school until the 11th grade. I then went back to my grandmothers in Boston. When I was 14, I found I could get a worker's permit. I couldn't wait to find some kind of a job to help out. I met a lade from the Franklin Square House, and she told me to apply there to work in the kitchen, etc. I was so excited when they hired me. It was a home for working women located perhaps on Canton Street in the South End. I could walk across Blackstone Park from my grandmother's building and be there in five minutes. I made 35 cents per hour and did all sorts of jobs. There was an Irish lady I sometimes worked with who always asked me to sing Danny Boy. I have sung since I was 6 and do so even today.

By then I decided to finish school at the Daly. I worked at the Franklin Square House from 6 o'clock until eight. I then took the train to Fields Corer and took a bus from there to Train Street where the school was located. Climbing up that hill was a task in itself. Train Street was quite steep, at least for me anyway. I would get to the door of the school, and there was Sister Patrice waiting inside to see if I was late. I never was! She insisted I could not wear ankle sox to school. It had to be stockings, and we had to wear cotton ones because of the war. I obliged with no problems.

At 3 o'clock school was over for the day. I hurried back home and worked from 4 until 8. I then went home, did my homework and started the next morning all over again.

When I graduated in 1947, there were 12 in our class. Our certificate said "Daly Commercial High School." I can remember a few of my classmates. One was Mary Lynch, a boarder. there there was Katherine Henderson and Barbara Tasha who both lived on Train Street. Years later I tried to find Katherine but had no success. I lost contact when I moved to Dearborn, Michigan, after marrying in 1952 in Cambridge. My husband was Design Engineer at Ford Motor Co. He was there for 36 years, retired in 1984 and died ten years later. He was in the Marine Corps and was originally from Michigan. We had 41 years together and raised 2 great daughters . I am now 86.

I kept in touch with my friend Claire Pintel. I introduced her to my oldest brother and eventually they fell in love. They had children including twins. My younger brother whose friend was at the working Boys Home with him become life-long friends. His name was Neil Gray. My brother made his home with Neil's family even after Neil died. They had gone into business together in Arizona. My brother died in December 2016

Although I am 86 I have to keep busy or I am lost. I'm in St. Pat's choir; I bowl once a week; and I am an artist like my grandmother who came from famous artists in England named Dixon. My art keeps me going. I have had heart valve surgery, 2 broken hips and one ankle!!! Oh well, such is life. I paint seascapes and lighthouses, some of Michigan and some of Massachusetts, and I make a few dollars. My grandmother had the artist William Paskell for a teacher. He rented a room in her apartment, which helped with the bills for the 4 of us. I learned a lot from both.

Patricia Gimple

7787 Oakland Pl

Waterford, MI 48327



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