When we start to examine our family genealogy we tend to collect a lot of names and dates. We gather information like dates of birth, marriage, and death. Sometimes we can fill in life events such as type of employment, birth of children, and perhaps military service. In other words a collection of facts lacking any embellishment. This type of collection will not hold much interest for most people. If your family is like mine they will give it a quick look and just as quick turn their attention elsewhere. I can guarantee you that when you try to show your collection of facts to someone outside the family, the result are very much the same. They just lose interest faster. It is unfortunate that many of us do not have a comprehensive collection of family photographs. For example the earliest picture I have of my father is when he is in his early thirties. Photographs can help tell the story that hides behind our collection of facts.
I am trying to write my family history and do not want it to be a collection of; born, married, died, like so many genealogies we all have read. What I have started to do with great success is to purchase postcards that show a glimpse of my families past. I also find that they can help you recall forgotten memories and stories about your family. Postcards can be found many places for purchase. Antique shops, flea markets, and estate sales are some of the places to look. But I find that the on-line auction houses such as eBay, are an easy and fast way to find picture postcards. The cost for these postcards are generally inexpensive and well worth adding to your family history.
Above you see two postcards that I have acquired. These will help tell my family’s story. The first postcard is showing Margaret Street which was in its day the main business district for my home town Plattsburgh. This would have been the downtown that my great-grandmother, grandmother, and my mother would have known so well. This was the street on which my Mother Veronica Deloria Moore, met my Father Charles Moore, when he was stationed here with the army. In fact, except for the old cars it looks very much like the downtown of my youth. I can still remember going into Fishman’s store and spending a great amount of time in the toy department. While being watched very carefully by what I thought of as “old lady sales-clerks”. The second postcard shows the Steamer Ticonderoga that serviced Lake Champlain from about 1906 to 1953. My great-great Grandmother Mary Guyette Barney, was a cook for several years on this luxury ship. I remember that my Grandmother Pauline Bonnett Deloria, had a few plates and a serving platter with the ships logo and image on them. These were displayed in a glass front cabinet in her kitchen. I cannot recall them ever being used. I still wonder to this day were they have gone.
This has been just a few examples, of how images from the past can help us tell our family story better. Most of us have to put in long hours and much effort to gather the facts, that make up the skeleton of our family story. We want people and especially our family and its future generations to read and become acquainted with our ancestors. It is by using these images we can tell a fuller and more interesting story.