Attention armchair historians: the 1950 census data is now available for your perusal, and if you don’t feel like looking up your own family’s history, you can dig up details about several prominent organized crime families.
Earlier this month, the National Archives and Records Administration launched a website with a searchable trove of records that can be accessed for free at 1950census.archives.gov. The handwritten census records include each person’s name, address, age, place of birth, occupation, and other personal details.
The relatives of many well-known local crime figures appear in the census, including the family of mob underboss Gennaro “Jerry” Angiulo, who allegedly ruled the Boston underworld from the 1960s to the early 1980s. According to the 1950 census, his parents Giovannina and Cesare Angiulo were listed as living at 95 Prince St. in Boston’s North End, along with his brothers Francesco “Frank” Angiulo, Donato “Danny” Angiulo, Michele “Mike” Angiulo, and James Angiulo.
(It’s worth noting that their parents’ first names were both misspelled on the census, as was Frank’s name, which was misspelled as “Francisco.”)
In the 1940s Giovannina and Cesare Angiulo owned a mom-and-pop grocery/convenience store called the “Dog House” on Prince Street. By 1950, census records show that Cesare was 60 years old, Giovannina was 56, Frank was 29 years old, and Donato was 27.
In the years to come, the Angiulo brothers gained more prominence for their underworld activities. But in the 1950 census, their occupations sounded rather demure: Frank Angiulo was listed as a proprietor of a fruit and vegetable business and his brother Donato as a proprietor of a tobacco and variety store.
Frank Angiulo would later serve 14 years in prison for racketeering. After he came home from prison in 2000, he spent a lot of time sitting outside on the steps of 95 Prince St., according to Globe reports.
Michele, who served three years in prison for gambling, died in 2006 at age 79. Donato, who served 11 years for racketeering, died in May 2009 at age 86. Gennaro Angiulo, who spent 24 years in prison for racketeering, died in August 2009 at age 90.
Frank, the last surviving Angiulo brother, died of heart failure in 2015 at the age of 94.
New England mafia boss Raymond Patriarca has long been associated with organized crime, and the old Coin-O-Matic office at 168 Atwells Ave. in Providence served as his headquarters for many years.
In the 1950 census, Patriarca was living at 165 Lancaster St. in Providence with his wife and son. He was 42 years old at the time, and his listed occupation was “real estate agent.”
Rhode Island State Police Superintendent Walter Stone once described Patriarca as “the controlling force behind organized crime in Rhode Island and New England.”
Patriarca died in 1984 at the age of 76.
Patriarca’s predecessor, Phil Bruccola, was born in Sicily and served as head of the Boston mafia from 1932 to the 1950s. He worked in boxing and had an office at 57 Canal St., near the Boston Garden. According to the census, he was listed as living at 512 Beacon St. with his wife, Rose, in 1950.
His occupation was listed as a promoter of boxing matches. Bruccola later moved to Italy and retired.
The family of James “Whitey” Bulger also appears in the 1950 census records. Bulger was one of Boston’s most infamous crime figures, having gone on the lam for 16 years and making the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list. He was eventually caught in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011 and later sentenced to life in prison for participating in 11 murders. Bulger eventually met a violent end himself, when he was beaten to death in a West Virginia prison in 2018.
In 1950 his parents and siblings were living at 41 Logan Way in the Old Harbor Village public housing project in South Boston.
He is not listed at their address; Bulger was serving in the Air Force at the time.
According to the 1950 census, Bulger’s father was listed as a “watchman” for the “city wharfs and piers” and his mother worked as a liquor inspector for a distillery. His brother, William, who was 16 years old at the time, would go on to have a successful career in politics as president of the Massachusetts Senate.