Wednesday, 25 April 2012

O for Old News (ABC Wednesday)

Still recuperating from my bronchitis och cough, and not having a lot of new exciting experiences to blog about, over the last few days I’ve had another go at getting on with blogging about the collection of old postcards I found among the inherited family papers and photos back in February. I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll seize the opportunity once again to draw your attention to the special blog I created for the purpose: Greetings from the Past. There is a button leading to it at the top of the sidebar in this blog; and below the button also a “newsflash” showing the very latest of my old news. I have just recently been putting in a whole row of new posts though, if anyone wants to catch up.

So far the postcards in my great-uncle Gustaf’s album have turned out to be organized pretty much in the order that they were received around 110 years ago. Basically I’m studying them one by one, trying to collect whatever clues to family history I can find in the short messages. But I also keep learning all sorts of odd facts from the picture postcards themselves.

One of the things that keep hitting me is that at first glance, I tend to think of things I see in the old cards as “an old church” or “an old house”; but when I look up facts in Wikipedia or Google, more often than not I find that when the postcard was sent, that building was brand new. 

These ancestors of mine at the beginning of the 20th century were living in a rapidly changing and expanding world. They were using postcards to communicate almost as we today use emails and text messages. Mail was sorted aboard the trains and delivery was fast. (I know back in my childhood in the late 1950’s we got mail deliveries twice a day.)

Some people weren’t content to just stay home and wait for old news either.  I already know that a few pages further along in the postcard collection, I will find both my great-uncle Gustaf and his sister Gerda in North America, across the Atlantic Ocean.


An Easter Card sent to my great-aunt Gerda in 1902, while she was still in Sweden. At Easter 1903, she had crossed the Atlantic Ocean and was living in Chicago.

Gustaf and Gerda were two of my great-grandfather Samuel’s children from his first marriage, born in 1878 and 1881. My grandmother was their half-sister, born in February 1900 to Samuel’s second wife. When these two older half-siblings went off to seek their fortune in America, my grandmother Sally was not yet three years old.

ABC Wednesday


  1. lots of O's here and more family history. i know you are enjoying going through them. a hundred years from now there will be no emails in a book to go through. humm that is a thought.

  2. This Easter one is adorable! Yes, when I visited the postcard blog yesterday I could see you had really made up for lost sick time!!! What surprises me here is how fast the mail was...I don't think we ever had two deliveries a day either. But I can really see that...way back then it was the only way to communicate...nowadays we use everything except mail!

  3. What is old was once new - true!
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  4. Oh yes, when my Mum was young, mail used to be delivered here twice a day, too. I don't know when exactly that stopped, but I've only known the once-a-day mail service for all my life.

  5. Old news are significant!

    Rose, ABC Wednesday Team

  6. When I was young and lived in England we had two posts a day but in the rural areas (ie outside of Stornoway) of the Outer Hebrides it was one because it was dependent upon when the mail arrived. First Class came by air and by the time it was sorted it was too late for rural deliveries the same day. Now we do get our mail the same day it arrives on the Island but it's often late afternoon. It's still pretty good though. A postcard usually takes about 5 days from Napier to Lewis.

  7. That is a treasure trove of cards and a wonderful family memento from the golden age of postcards. Love those chicks.
    Joy - ABC Team

  8. How fascinating! One of my sisters is our family's geneologist and she can trace our family back hundreds of years. It may be "old news" but it's still "news" to us in this generation. Enjoy your old postcards and glean from them what you can. Have an outstanding week,

    abcw team

  9. How wonderful to have the postcards. Great O. Blessings, Debbie

  10. Genealogy fascinates me. I began collecting information about our heritage and found that it consumed all my time! It was so interesting I didn't want to stop. What a great idea to start a blog to document all that history.


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