Walking Through History With Postcards

Visiting the towns and cities where your ancestors lived brings some of their location environment into our understanding.  However, in most cases the location has changed a lot over the years and while some of the buildings may still exist, the setting has changed.

I’ve always enjoyed finding copies of early postcards that depict the scenes in those towns over a hundred years ago.

They help us envision the muddy streets that were lined with rows of trees and in many cases, free of power and telephone lines.

A case in point.   When you visit West Stewartstown, New Hampshire today, Main Street is much wider, the trees lining them are gone for the most part, having been removed when the streets were widened for asphalt.




The homes are still there for the most part now sit closer to the edge of the road. 

My ancestors who lived in Stewartstown knew the scene in the above image very well.  It was their home town.  A town that was a fairly long way away from another town or city of any size.

When I walked the streets of Stewartstown, I didn’t envision the scene in the postcard.  The current setting is a little less Norman Rockwell and more twentieth century.


Stewartstown River


The scenes along Connecticut River that serves as the border between New Hampshire and Vermont in that part of America look much the same today.  There are a few more homes but the peacefully valley still maintains is splendor

The story is similarly true in other ancestral towns I’ve visited.  The older the town the greater the chance the older developed part of town still exists along with most of the old homes.

Have you used old postcards to help in your genealogy quest?  Watch for them on Ebay and in similar stores.


About Lee Drew

Family history research is a favored avenue of relaxation. It is a Sherlock-like activity that can continue almost anywhere at any time. By leveraging a lifetime involvement in technology, my research efforts have resulted in terabytes of ancestral data, earning me the moniker of Lineagekeeper. And yes - We are all related to Royalty.