City directories are great as way to track a family between census records. Sometimes they can be used to narrow a time frame for events such as death or even marriages or moves. I've often wondered when a city directory was compiled, though. Here's one way to find a clue.
This snippet is from the Providence, Rhode Island newspaper of 9 April 1894.1 At least in this case, the 1894 information should reflect the residents in the early part of 1894.
1"Providence Directory, 1894," The News (Providence, Rhode Island), 9 April 1894, p. 1, col. 3; digital images, Google News (http://news.google.com : accessed 10 September 2013).