To step back in time to know more about your family and their hometown is to locate a postcard. The collecting and sending of postcards (some with actual photos) was a very popular social sharing activity for decades. Especially between the late 1890s into the 1950s, postcards were saved and shared all the time. Not used just during a vacation but to share what a town looked like for family and friends in other areas.
So if you do not have any postcards from your family collection, start one of your own. The online site titled ‘Penny Postcards‘ with USGenWeb Archives has every state in the United States. When you select a state, the counties / cities in categories is arranged to find a specific location. Sometimes there is a mystery postcard shown that comes from that state but unsure of which county.
Select the county name next to reveal the postcards from that county. Some will be of general scenes in the county and scroll further down for towns/cities in that county. The number of postcards can vary in number. There could images of street scenes, hospitals, churches, businesses / shops, factories, schools, government buildings or neighborhoods. Anything is possible. Click on a selected postcard to enlarge it and right click it to save to your computer. Note any information on the postcard for your files.
Finding an individual home is very exciting … it could be an ancestral residence. I have located over the years several versions and time periods of my mother’s family home in Frederick, MD. It was torn down in 1973 but it did exist for over 75 years.
The postcards on this site displayed were created before 1940, so there some very vintage images. They welcome submissions, if you like to share your postcards of anywhere in US.
After seeing places on this site, do check what is up for auction on eBay, many postcards with inexpensive prices are available everyday on the site. On any given day there can be over 375,000 vintage postcards on eBay. To narrow the search, in the top box place the hometown or county you are searching.
Photos: Groff House in the early 1920s in Frederick, MD; Hale Hospital in Haverhill, MA; and Wright’s Trading Post in New Mexico.
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