Filson Family Farm

Filson Family Farm

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Finding your history in Postcards

1908 Postcard -  Birdseye View of North Center Street in Plymouth Indiana  1

Historical postcards are a rich source for visualizing your ancestors in a historical time. During the early 1900s, postcards featured pictures of city views, court house, public buildings and business. Many counties have recreated and published a historical time capsule of these images. The Marshall County Historical Society has available The Plymouth Post Card Book which has 100 vintage postcards from Plymouth, Indiana.

If you have an interest in Culver, Indiana, check out the genealogical website for Lake Maxinkuckee. It has some wonderful local postcards of Culver.

To find postcards from all over the United States, visit America as it Was: A Tour of the US in Vintage Postcards. There you will find multiple links to additional resources, such as the Northwest Indiana Genealogical Society which has over 3000 images online.

Another great place to look for historical images is on Flickr. There you will find collections such as The Pie Shop’s Collection which has a wonderful photo sets from Indiana and other locations. My favorite is the A & W Root Beer restaurant in South Bend, Indiana. They also have a postcard of the old Plymouth Holiday Inn, which you are familiar with if you grew up in Plymouth, Indiana.

Also, check out Shook Photos where you can find postcards of Indiana Railroad Disasters and Indiana Tornado Disasters.

One of my favorites is the Flickr site for Hoosier Recollections'. You will see old postcards of Indiana Schools, Indiana Theatres & Opera Houses. I especially love the way the curator of the site provides detailed views of the postcards. He also cross-referenced the postcards with 1905 Sanborn Insurance maps to verify the exact location of the scene depicted on the postcard. So don’t just look at the picture, make sure to read the description under the picture for great historical content. They also have a set of postcards just for Marshall County and some wonderful Indiana Rural Scenes.

Do not forget to check out the Indiana Historical Society postcard collection, the site states:

“Indianapolis resident Jay Small collected real photo and printed postcards. The images depict locations across Indiana, individuals, interurban and railway stations, bandstands, celebrations, and examples of advertising. Featured here are views and street scenes in towns and cities. The images date from circa 1907 to the 1920s.”

But the ultimate surprise would be to find one of these postcards was actually written by your family member and has somehow made its way to the Internet. I am still looking for that treasure.

Note: To view any of these sites just click on the blue highlighted word above and your browser will take you there.

 1) Filson family Private collection


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