Recent additions of my genealogy magazines subscriptions have had a plethora of great sites and informational content. Over the next few weeks I’ll pick out a few and share my experience in “trying them out”. This week let’s look at the “Raphael Tuck and Sons Oilette Collection” at the Newberry Library.
The Oct/Nov issue of Internet Genealogy includes Tony Bandy’s article “Digital Genealogy Resources: Postcards Tony Bandy looks at the Raphael Tuck & Sons Oilette Collection at the Newberry Library”. Since he has done a very thorough job of sharing details of this site, I encourage you to read this article. We’ll instead look at what type of information you could glean with some searches.
This collection is hosted by the Internet Archive site which is a non-profit dedicated to preserving all types of records by digitalization. According to this site, the collection does focus on Great Britain images but does have some abroad. My initial search of Luxembourg resulted in some postcards of Luxembourg—primarily of Luxembourg City and of the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris. Searches of places like North Dakota or pioneers resulted in no results. However, searching for a topic like “immigration” resulted in a postcard of Liverpool Landing Stage. If you have ancestors from the British Isles, they may have left from Liverpool—a major shipbuilding and shipping area.
In addition to the postcard, there is text that provides information about what you are seeing. Some are more helpful than others. For example, on this one, it has that the card was printed between 1903-1959. That’s quite a timespan. However, the best part of the search result is the cards that are provided that are similar, towards the bottom of the page. By looking closely at the postcard, using the magnifying feature, you can pick out clues such as horses hauling cargo or luggage, the dress of the crowd and that the ship is a steamship to help you get a since of the general timeframe. If you’re lucky some of the postcard backs reveal the stamp and date.
There also are several cheerful, sweet postcards related to holidays and historic events. Here’s an example of a Christmas greeting. A search for Ireland has many scenes from specific regions as well as daily life. Here’s one titles “Irish Peasants Spinning Flax”. Try your own searches and see what you can find.
In our attempt to make our family stories more readable and interesting, a picture or a postcard helps our readers see what it might have been like in a place at the time our ancestors lived. The postcards are available for download. Refer to their usage rights and copyright for guidelines. In addition to researching this postcard collection, take some time to delve into the offerings of the Internet Archive site and the rest of the Newberry site. You’ll find books, postcards, audio and even tv broadcasts. Take some time away from dates and names and look at ways to enhance your family story by finding postcards and pictures to support a sense of place. Enjoy!
“For email, the old postcard rule applies. Nobody else is supposed to read your postcards, but you’d be a fool if you wrote anything private on one.”
With a lifelong passion for genealogy and history, the author enjoys the opportunity to share genealogy tidbits, inspiring others to research and write their family story.