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Postcards From The Past

Besides communicating quick notes or vacation greetings, postcards also served as greeting cards for all occasions. These can be priceless for the genealogist. For example, Emily Rule, Tennessee, has been looking for clues in two scrapbooks full of early 19th century postcards that belonged to her great grandmother and great grandfather. To her amazement she has found out much she didn't know about her family and her roots.

Emily is now using postcards to locate descendants of her great grandmothers who married and settled in Virginia before 1893. " From the postcards relatives sent her great grandparents we know where her family was before marriage and other little details about their life at that time, " she says.

Another favorite motif for postcards was transportation, which includes ship advertising, railroad stations and trains. You might be able to find a card of the ship that brought your ancestors to America. American Line, Anchor Line, Cunard, Hamburg - Amerika, Holland - America, Norddeutscher Lloyd, Red Star, White Star and many other smaller lines issued advertising cards that featured views of their ships accompanied by some size and tonnage facts. It is fun to trace the footsteps of your ancestors from different shores. Railroad depot postcards were very popular and still are today. It would be fantastic to find a real photo card of your ancestors standing in front of an old depot. All the different trains throughout our history and how they were used to transport in early America are quite collectible as well.

Town and city views, another popular postcard subject, show courthouses, schools, streets and post offices. They're available for both US and European localities, and can be a way of connecting with your ancestors even if they didn't send the postcards themselves. People have researched and found churches where ancestors have married, schools they attended and places they visited. These items are priceless!

It is amazing to see how many photo cards were developed from your own hometown even showing individual streets. You can buy them fairly cheaply too. Most are from shortly after the turn of the century, following the 1900 introduction of " Real Photo Cards ".

Similarly, roadside cards depicted diners and restaurants, gas stations, hotels and motels and shops. Perhaps your ancestors frequented a particular eatery or stayed at a certain hotel during their travels. The ideas of tracing your family is endless and can be a great way to share with your family your history. What a legacy to pass down to your children and grandchildren. These type items are interesting even to people outside the family. You will be quite surprised at the amount of information you can find and postcards on line concerning your family history. Small towns your ancestors have come from or cities far away are just a click away. Get started with a new pastime of postcard collecting from the past and engage in the history of your ancestors.

About The Author:

Peter Dobler is a veteran in the IT business. His passion for experimenting with new internet marketing strategies leads him to explore new niche markets.
Read more about his experience with post cards; visit


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