Posted in Directories, Research tips, World War 1

Pinocchio: Records don’t lie (or do they?)

The Fairy Tale Genealogist is at it again.  Let’s find out what became of Pinocchio, using records from and good photo-editing software.Pinocchio 1You all know that Pinocchio was the wooden puppet whose wish came true when he became a real, live boy.  But I’m wondering if he may have had second thoughts when the draft board came calling during WWI.

His draft registration card fills in some of the facts for Pinocchio, the real, live man, but then again Pinocchio was the informant on this record, and we all know what that means.  Sure, he was born in Italy, but was his birthday, in fact, April 17, 1889?  Had he really served as a soldier in the Italian army? And I have my doubts about the mother and sister…

He provided a physical description of himself:  5’4″, stout, black eyes and light hair (um, really?), and I give him a lot of credit for not trying the old “I’ve got a wooden leg” excuse to get out of serving.

This is a good time to point out some considerations in record analysis for any good genealogist.  Always ask yourself  1) What was the entity that created this record?  2) Why was the record created?  3) Who was the informant? 4) Could the informant have had ulterior motives for the answers he/she gave? 5) Was the informant a story book character famous for lying?

By 1817 it looks like Geppetto was out of the picture.  What’s the story there?  Well, we get to the bottom of it using a directory.  Geppetto was living in the Bronx, New York!

Geppetto in the Phone Directory
Geppetto in the Phone and Address Directory

Directories can be an excellent way to track down ancestors, since they were published every year and can fill in the gaps from census records, and are available for years more recent than censuses.  If I want to find out more about Geppetto I can click on “View neighbors” to start learning about the demographics of his neighborhood, provided the directory gives occupational data or the surnames give clues as to the ethnicity of his neighbors. There are all kinds of clues in directories.

I can’t help but wonder what became of Jiminy Cricket.

Jiminy cricket


Well the one thing none of us can avoid is either death or taxes, and sure enough, J.B. Cricket is found in tax records in California. Glad to see he made it out west, although I think he should be concerned about the lizard population.

J Cricket taxes index

Don’t be fooled by the tax year of 1866.  Jiminy Cricket is a fictional character, and they live forever! (If the lizards don’t get them.)


I am an Accredited Genealogist® professional living in California. I have been researching and teaching since 1988.

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