Postcards from the Past

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Postcards can help you identify family members as well as close family friends.

Billy Idol - Postcards from the Past (Audio)

The clue was found in the postmark dated 23 June , Philadelphia. She lost both her parents at an early age, due to an auto accident. She has had no contact with relatives since she was five. She was also encouraged because the birthplace for her grandfather was also listed on the form.

The most exciting news was that an year-old Union veteran of the Civil War was listed in the household, as the father of the head of household. In one fell swoop, she found proof of her grandfather, and first evidence of her great-grandfather!

Postcards from the Past – a trip down memory lane

Now she is going to locate military records for additional information on the great-grandfather. Another researcher, Marcia Meyers of Middletown, Conn. I guess the daughter passed the postcard on to Sara. Who was Isak Leib Roth and how did Grandfather know him? Her grandfather had left his home and was staying with his daughter in Vienna. It was obvious that our grandfathers were good friends and my Aunt Sara and her Aunt Anna also were good friends. The first place to look for postcards about your past is right within your family, in attics, cellars, scrapbooks — wherever correspondence might be stored.

Some postcards were hung on walls or placed on mantels alongside picture calendars, so they might also be stored separately from letters and diaries. Outside the family, you can find cards — of your ancestral hometown, for instance — at antique dealers, postcard shows, stamp shows and even garage sales.

You can also find them through Web sites. Noted genealogist Miriam Weiner, author of Jewish Roots in Poland , tells of walking into a used bookstore in Lublin, Poland — and finding that the owner was a big collector of antique postcards.


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The card, written in German by Robert Jacobson in America to his mother in Courland, Russia, somehow made a miraculous journey back across the Atlantic to America. I thought it might be a good idea to see if any Jacobsons would be interested in the card — perhaps there was a descendant.

A region known for its ancient trees, off-the-grid homesteads, secret gardens, and dramatic beauty does not fit easily into a single frame. In an effort to study and appreciate this wild place. For the past decade, Eureka resident Steve Lazar has found an interesting niche in collecting historic postcards from Humboldt County, some mailed locally between friends and loved ones; others sent across the country by locals and visitors alike.

While the postcard images range from the magnificent to the ordinary to the politically incorrect, Lazar has found a surprising captivation with the messages—often hard to decipher—on the flipside of each postcard. Join Steven Lazar on an excursion charted using messages found on the backs of locally sent postcards.

For more information about this press release or photos, please contact Wendy Hill, Editor, Humboldt Historian.

It just hit me today…. While it is often hard to read the handwriting, ask students to postulate more about the person writing, based on the content and style of their message. Have students choose a specific person, or create a fictional character persona , they will use to share a first-person perspective of the time or place you are studying. Have students use a cluster diagram, or an organizer like a 5W's chart, to describe this person, or persona, answering questions like:.

Have students revisit primary, secondary and instructional resources about the time and place they are studying. Ask students to add additional bubbles, or clusters, to each area to describe how each of these characteristics makes this persona feel or think about events around them.

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Students should brainstorm content ideas for three different postcards, including the cover images and text message. Students should use these ideas to write and draw a rough draft that they can share with a peer for feedback and suggestions. Students should then make appropriate edits and changes to the text before creating the final postcard. Have students create their postcards using pencil and paper or a digital tool that allows them to combine images and text. If students are using Wixie, they can choose from several different postcard templates or create their postcards from scratch and print at postcard size.

Students can type their message to the recipient, and find pictures for the front of their postcard through a Web search or by using images from Pics4Learning. You can also encourage budding artists to use paint tools and clip art to create original artwork for the front of their postcards.

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Postcards should also include text indicating the date and location. Adding a stamp is another fun way to incorporate cultural information.

Postcards from the Past - Eau Claire

Have students read their postcards to the rest of the class. You may even want to encourage them to dress according to their persona. This is a great way to celebrate their effort and also provides an opportunity for you to see how well they have used historical empathy to understand how that person felt and thought at that time. Reading all of the postcards showing the different perspectives of people involved provides students with a deeper understanding of the past.

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Postcards From the Past: Tomorrow at Redway Elementary – Redheaded Blackbelt

Pair students together and ask them to complete a Venn diagram that compares the different perspectives shared in their postcards. Have each pair share their findings with the rest of the class and work as a whole group to identify differences in the viewpoints shared in all of the postcards. A historian from a local museum would be a great moderator for this discussion.

Discuss why these viewpoints may be different. Be sure students understand that they need to back up their ideas with specific evidence from the postcards and original instructional materials to justify their answers.

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