Business cards, letters, menus, newspaper clippings, receipts, brochures, etc. each have a story to tell. If they were in the belongings of your family members, there was a reason for them to have been kept in a scrapbook, in boxes, and even used as bookmarks. Here is where your detective skills can be used to the fullest extent. Vital records and certificates only tell a part of the story of a person's life. Ephemera fills in all of the details that help to paint a picture about the person's life.
Postcards can tell us where they traveled, or where others in their lives had traveled. They were also sent for holidays and birthdays. Some had photos of a town, a school, an organization, and many other things that could provide clues about a family. Postcards were sent during World War I with photos of the destruction to towns and buildings and neighborhoods. Some postcards were sent instead of letters for official communication.
|A Postcard from the Veterans Administration stating that LeRoy Hessler Reif was being placed on a waiting list for hospital treatment in November of 1949|
Letters can add additional facts for family research. Look for these to contain information about business, family, licenses, insurance and more.
|Life Insurance policy issued by the U S. Government|
|This article appeared in many newspapers across the United States in March of 1924.|
Don't get discouraged. Make it a fun, detective game. And invite your family to join in. Have a contest and give a prize to the persons that finds the most interesting ephemera after a week of search. Good luck.