POSTCARDS: Postcards can be an extra source for family history researchers, and may hold an amazing amount of information. The first postcards were printed about 1870 in Austria, and were made with buff coloured paper with an imprinted stamp and space for an address on the front, and the greetings were written on the back. Pictures soon appeared on the back with little room for writing a message, and in the early 1900’s came a change with a pictorial front and divided back for the greetings and address.
Gradually other countries began producing their own, and cards were printed for all occasions such as Easter, Christmas, birthdays and it became popular to send them from holiday destinations. At one time insects and flowers were attached with springs, and transparent cards which when held to the light showed a different picture were popular. Embossed cards with silk and flowers, hilarious and novelty cards, scenes from cities and towns were available, and verses appeared mainly on birthday and greeting cards.
During the First World War, postcards featuring soldiers, political events, ships and propaganda were produced, and many were sent to loved ones at home. A card that has “Printed in Germany” blocked out and over printed with “Printed in Saxony” or “Prussia”, is a rare pre 1914 issue, and occurred to maintain sales during and after World War 1.
Cards appeared in series, and over the years have become collectible, with scenes of bygone days, and will show how things have changed over the years. Novelty cards with a number of local scenes from the area under a flap on the front were produced for many towns, even small places, and can bring to life the way things used to be.
Collecting postcards can be rewarding.