The Magic of Adding Postcards to Heritage Layouts
A Sprinkle of Holiday Magic to You and Your Family!
What a year it has been! I wasn’t quite sure where I would fit into all the scrapbooking goodness that is tied up into Scrapaneers.com but the response has confirmed that I have found my niche which brings a smile to my face!
We’ve covered a lot of topics this year but I have one more to finish it up because it’s so frustrating to find myself working on a particular family group that doesn’t have very many family photos. What am I to do when I want to combine not only documents and stories, but also some photos, into my Lifestory books — but I just can’t find them? Let’s look at some of the creative ways we can bring outside photos into our Lifestory pages that add background as well as a bit of fun.
Where are You When it Comes to Heritage Photos?
When it comes to family heritage photos and memorabilia, some families are blessed with boxes and boxes of old photos or albums bursting at the seams. Then there are others, my own included, where it seems like there are a few strategic photos and not much else, so trying to get a feel for what everyday life was like can seem a bit daunting.
Adding Extras to Help Your Story
I can locate what I consider family portraits, where everyone is lined up outside either in front of cars, homes or casual get-togethers or the professionally taken ones, but what I would love to find are those clues into where my family would have carried on their day-to-day lives. What did the main strip in their home town look and feel like? Where were some of the popular spots they would go to for fun?
This is when I tend to head towards places that carry postcards, especially the vintage ones. We can check out sites like Ebay, USPostcards, WorldPostcards, but did you know that the Boston Public Library carries a massive collection that is available as well on Flickr? There are also quite a few on the Commons.wikimedia site which has a lot of public domain photos but also happens to have some postcards as well.
You Might be Surprised
So, you might be imagining the kinds of postcards that we all see when we go on vacation, but head back a couple of decades and you might be surprised at how much you can find for an ancestor’s home town. Some of the postcards are actually photos taken in and around a city and others are tinted and have more of a drawn look to them.
My grandparents, Blanche and Paul, lived for quite a few years in a town called Auburn which is located in the northeast side of the State of Indiana. What I love about the county seats in Indiana is that most of them were built as squares with the county courthouse sitting in the middle as the crown – most are pretty majestic with all their stonework and Indiana limestone, but the part that I remember the most about the courthouse square in Auburn was the annual free fall fair. You see, they would block off all the streets surrounding the square and even some side streets and they would be covered with booths ranging from food to games and even some carnival rides.
I have vivid memories of going there as a child in the 60-70’s and walking around and around looking for just the right food or game to spend my monies on. One year I came home with a gold fish from throwing a ping-pong ball into a small round fish bowl — you know the kind I’m talking about, right? I see mostly beta fish swimming in them at pet stores locally, but they would fill a table with the fish bowls and wherever your ball landed, you would win that gold fish. Another time, I won a baby chick in just about the same manner except I don’t remember the chicks being in the bowl! And yes, I did take the chick home and it ended up residing at my aunt’s farm where it grew to rooster adulthood!
Anyway… back to the postcards.
My grandparents were born right around 1900 so I thought it would be fun to look and see what kind of postcards I might find for Auburn where they grew up. While I didn’t find that many, I did stumble across a treasure-trove of postcards showing the DeKalb County Free Fall Fair and guess what? The fair has been in existence since around 1906, give or take a year. I was actually able to locate photos dating back to 1909 showing the street view where the streets were jammed packed with people — just as I remembered it some 50 to 60 years later.
I am able to add some of these photos along with some of the fun history to a background page for my grandparents. I know that it had to be an event that they would have attended as young children. Blanche and Paul, as young parents, would send my own father off for the day with 25 cents and the strict admonition that he should have change left over at the end of the day when he would be expected to meet back up with them. Do I have any photos myself of the fair? None at all, but I’m pretty sure that if I really wanted to look a step further, I could locate newspaper articles written during my own youth that would have similar photos.
See, how a bit of creative looking outside the box, helps to fill in some gaps when it comes to photos? Just remember to check the licensing restrictions and add credits that are appropriate. If they are in the public domain, then you can add them freely. If you have any concerns, always check with the owner! Also, if you purchase the postcard from a source like Ebay, then you do have the right to scan it and use it in your own books if it is prior to 1923. It’s like adding memorabilia and it’s for your own enjoyment and helping to keep the memories alive so I encourage you to take some time and peruse around yourself!
Postcards can Spark Memories
Here’s a fun idea for anyone that still has their older generations around to visit or will be seeing them during the Holidays: take some of these postcards or show them the photos of the postcards and see what kinds of stories they might spark! (Just make sure you have some type of recorder going so you can keep all that story-goodness for the future and also so you can get the details written down correctly!)
Automate Ebay Searches
If you do a Search in Ebay for a specific postcard and don’t find it, make sure that you Click on the option to “Save this search” so that Ebay will send you notices when someone has added it to their site. Of course, you will need an Ebay account, but it isn’t hard to sign up for one and well worth the effort — especially if you would like to purchase your own copy. Or if you would like to be notified when someone uploads any postcards on a particular city or state, you can search on that as well — just make sure to save the Search. It will do the work for you, and who doesn’t like that?
Just So Much Goodness
What a treat this month to have such beautiful kits available to use with our layouts, and all from such talented designers. This layout showcasing my grandfather and his siblings in 1909 started to evolve using the Winter Magic Kit by Allison Pennington as well as a template designed by Cheryl Ashcraft (Fiddle-Dee-Dee Designs) from The LilyPad. As if it needed anything extra… I sprinkled in a few items from The DigiChick’s Vero – The French Touch just because I could! They really seemed to compliment each other.
Keeping Up With My Current Life!
I loved the Winter Magic kits by Vero – The French Touch and Allison Pennington so much that I wanted to add a layout of my grand-daughter just so you know that I do love to live in the “present” as well! She’s so filled with little-girl-goodness, that I couldn’t resist. Happy Holidays from me to you!
The Winter Magic Giveaway
A huge THANK YOU goes out to all the amazing designers who contributed to this Mega Collection. Winter Magic is perfect for your winter and holiday photos, but it also has a gorgeous color palette that is fitting for memorializing those everyday moments too. Ready for a peek at what you can collect during the month of December?
Winter Magic download links are no longer available.