Old real-photo postcards among your collection of family letters and photos might contain a variety of clues worth exploring. From stamp boxes to postmarks and messages, there can be genealogical gold in the littlest things.
How to tell if it’s a real-photo postcard
I’ve written about real-photo postcards (RPPCs) in the past. These are family photos printed with a postcard back. An RPPC is an actual photo, not a chromolithograph print like the postcards you buy in souvenir shops.
Printing on a postcard back was just another option when you visited the photo studio or had your snapshots printed.
Do you have RPPCs in your family photo collection? If you’re not sure, take a close look at the image with a magnifying glass or loupe, or scan and zoom in. A chromolithograph print appears to made up of tiny dots; an RPPC does not.
Where to look for information about real-photo postcards
- In Mothers in Old Photos, you’ll learn about stamp boxes and the origin of the term postcard.
- RPPCs debuted in 1900, but there were changes to the backs of these cards within a few years. Read Old Family Photos on Postcards to learn more about the history and formats for these cards.
- Take your research to the next step and solve the postcard mystery. In a two-part series, Clues in Old Photo Postcards and Clues in Old Photo Postcards part two, I show you how a little extra research can go a long way.
Postcards were popular both in the United States and overseas. Do you have one to share? Email it to me here, following the instructions in our How To Submit Your Photo section.
Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:
- Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
- Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
- Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
- Hairstyles 1840-1900
- Photo-Organizing Practices
- Preserving Your Family Photographs
- Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now