Sunday, May 26, 2019

Picturing the Past- Another Resource for Genealogists Part I

As you can see, this is the town square of Spencer, Owen County, Indiana sometime in the late 30's or early 40's. (according to the database) I was noodling around again in Ancestry on the "newly added records" section which you find at the bottom of your home page. I found Historical Postcards. Of course I started entering names of places where I had large groups of ancestors right away. This is the best result I found. Spencer is the little town my great great grandmother, Letitia Ellen Johnson, came from.

You get some feeling for Spencer. The classic town square, the storefronts that must date from the 1800's, the memorial (probably a war memorial) in the square. It could be any little town in Texas just as easily. I've been to those little places. I turned it over to see what else I could learn.
What clues were here? Well Lyle and Charles are writing to "Eddie" or Edna in the fall of 1945. The war is over and they are visiting for some reason. The writing style is casual. These are youngish people.  Edna Madison (we think) lives in York, Pennsylvania. So I turned this little mystery over to my friend David Webb. He is a real postcard sleuth. We spent a couple of days going back and forth over this. Was the name really Madison? Could we find her? Were these guys friends? Relatives? Did they have a tie to Spencer? Alas it was, as David put it, a "dry hole". He pointed out that after WWII, the cards are harder to search. More mobility and in this case too few clues.

These folks aren't related to me in any way I know of, I just thought it would be an interesting puzzle to solve. David has a very specific method for researching old postcards and has had a fair bit of success. More about David, his search methods and his website in the next post. Stay tuned.

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