Every Friday The Psychogenealogist shares a "Pic of the Week." The intent is to encourage thought and imagination about the spaces where psychology, genealogy, and history converge.
Here is another postcard I obtained from a random lot on eBay. The front depicts the 312-Tunnel, Creation Rock Drive, Park of the Red Rocks in Denver Mountain Parks, Colorado.
312 Tunnel, Creation Rock Drive, Red Rocks Denver Mountain Parks, CO
The postcard is postmarked January 16th, 1943. I am not quite able to identify the sender, but it appears to be a Pvt. F. W. Kat... (?). The first name in the signature is also hard to make out. My first guess was "Frank" but that doesn't seem quite right. Anyone have some other guess?
The sender of the postcard was most likely a Private (Pvt.) in the United States Army Air Forces. Part of the U.S. Army, this was the military organization that preceded the establishment of the independent U.S. Air Force in 1947.
The postcard was sent from Lowry Field in Colorado. This was a military training base for the U.S. Army Air Forces before and during the time of World War II. It became the Lowry Air Force Base sometime around 1948, several years after this postcard was sent.
The card reads, simply:
Being shipped out. I will write later.
It is sent to a Miss Bessie White who resided at 14 N. Prospect Ave. in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Here are some facts and speculations about Bessie from a cursory Ancestry.com search:
- There is a Bessie K. White listed in the 1942 Norristown, Pennsylvania city directory at the 14 N. Prospect Ave address.
- There are census records for 1930 and 1940 in Norristown, PA, matching the street address.
- According to those census records Bessie was born about 1922 in Pennsylvania. Her parents were Charles and Cora White. In 1940 she had 5 siblings. Bessie was the 2nd oldest. The others, in birth order, were: Charles, William, Robert, Richard, and Anna. Bessie's parents were born in the early to mid 1890s
- She married a Harry Drissell Ziegler (1921-2004)
- I am 95% sure that this is the Find a Grave entry for the Bessie (White) Ziegler in question.
Genealogy is a hobby strewn with rabbit holes. The search presented here is one such example. I spent about 1-2 hours researching the information I had available to me from the postcard. I could easily spend many more hours filling out this stranger's family tree.
But I won't. At least not now.
Sometimes when I get tired of looking at my own family tree I turn my attention to others. It is a change of pace. It is like a genealogy palate cleanser. It allows me to learn new facts, details, or even research techniques. I get to learn about new places, ones different from the cities and towns my ancestors lived in for decades.
I encourage you to give it a try! Just don't get carried away.
I will be setting aside my inquiry of Bessie for now, but if I ever return (or if any of you want to take up the cause) there are some questions that remain.
- Who wrote the postcard?
- Where is he being shipped off to?
- When did he join the service and what was his experience like?
- Was this a friend, a family member, or a suitor?
- Did he ever write later?
- What happened to him in the war?
- What old postcards or letters do you have hiding in your basement or attic and what stories do they tell?
Do you have an old photograph or a genealogical story that you would like to share? I am happy to consider guest submissions for possible Pic of the Week or other blog posts in the future. Send an email to email@example.com for more information.
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