I imagine that most people have at least a few letters that they have kept because of some sentimental value or significance, and such collections may occasionally contain picture postcards as well. However, the vast majority of postcards are probably thrown away within a few weeks or so their receipt. Some of these turn up in auctions and on market stalls, and the rarest examples can fetch considerable sums of money. Most designs though, were of course mass produced, and have little rarity value to collectors, so the millions of cards in circulation represent an affordable, and largely untapped resource for family history research.
I was very interested therefore to receive details recently of a Postcard Index. This has been established, purely as a hobby, by Colin Buck of Cookridge, Leeds. He buys batches of postcards and lists the names and addresses of the recipients in a database. This contained some 14,000 entries when we last heard from him in September 1996, and he had several thousand waiting to be added. He collects cards dated between 1899 and 1950. His aim is quite simple – to unite the old postcards with modern day descendants of the original recipients.
Colin charges 3 to register a name and area of interest, then 1 per postcard, with subsequent postcards to the same address being only 25p. Needless to say, we have registered our interest in any of the name variants of Linfield and Lindfield, wherever they occur. We had an immediate success when we first registered, and the postcard shown below is now in our records. Postmarked 19 March 1914, it is addressed to Master E Linfield at Home Farm, Strood Park, Broadbridge Heath, near Horsham and the message tells us that the initial E stood for Eddie. The sender was called Ena and she refers to someone called Mary in the message. The picture on the reverse is of the Tower of London. This is where the detective work begins!
We have found no trace as yet of that address for any Lin(d)fields, nor of any obvious candidates among the Edwards, Edmunds or Edwins in the database. Eddie was presumably under 21 since Ena refers to him as Master E Linfield. If anyone can suggest who Eddie might have been, or who recognises the Broadbridge Heath address, do please let us know!
If any of our readers would like to register another name which they are researching, or would simply like to find postcards sent to their ancestors (or indeed to themselves) in the first half of this century, they can write to Colin Buck, at 36 Kirkwood Way, Cookridge, Leeds, LS16 7EX