Category: <span>Genealogy</span>

Windber High School Postcard

The front of this postcard shows the Windber High School in Windber, Pennsylvania. I wasn’t able to find a similar postcard online, so this is definitely worth posting here!  I couldn’t find out much about this building, and it probably doesn’t exist anymore.  A new high school was apparently built in 1924 and that has since been demolished as well, so, it’s probably safe to assume this isn’t standing.

The back has an errant “1909” from a possibly misplaced postmark, the stamp is missing, and it’s pretty hard to read.  Identifying marks are that it’s published by Chas. George & Co., in Windber, PA, printed in Germany by “SL & CO,” and has “E 10664” as an identifying number.  It’s addressed to Mr. Bernard Maher at an unreadable address in West Seneca, New York.  Even after running some Photoshop filters, I still find the message VERY hard to read.  Best guess on the message:
“Hello Bernard, How is all the family.  I am in Windber two weeks today and will not get home before next Saturday. [illegible section] From Mother.”
When I say that was hard to read, it wasn’t the handwriting, but the thoroughly degraded pencil on paper.  I mean, for over 100 years old, stuffed in a box in unknown conditions, it’s pretty impressive it’s even here.  At least we know it’s from his mother, Catherine Garrity and I can tell from the 1905 NY census that they were living in West Seneca New York, and it looks like it’s 613 Second St per the census which is why the street line in the address might be crossed out.

SP-354 – USS Wandena

Based on the numbering on the boat, this was the SP-354, commissioned as the USS Wandena during WWI.  This photo was part of a set saved by Great Grandma Olga, presumably sent to her by her brother Earl who was in the Navy during WWI.  I found evidence that this particular boat served as a patrol boat in the NY Harbor from 1917-1919, and given that there are a batch of photos that all appear to be taken around the same place/time, there must have been some kind of exercise or training during which he took these photos.  I tried doing a quick google search to see if there were any other photos of this vessel to match it up by its features, but none appear to exist (at least on the internet), so I’m glad to be able to post this one, even if it’s a bit grainy and not terribly clear.

A Merry Christmas – 1913

Another Maher Postcard to share!  This one has “A Merry Christmas” greeting printed in gold.  The scene shows a snowy house with a mill building and water wheel.  The scene is surrounded by green holly and red berries and some decorative gold accents.

How about that back though?!  Nearly unreadable without some Photoshop magic/filters.  The postmark appears to be December 20 and it’s either 1913 or 1918, though given the span of most of these postcards, I’m going to say it’s probably 1913.  This is again addressed to Lee Maher though at a new address in Pennsylvania instead of in Buffalo, New York which appears to be 170 Promenade ave, Crafton, Pennsylvania.  There are no real identifying marks on the back to indicate a publisher or printer, but I really like the font used for “Post Card” on the right side.  There’s also a George Washington one cent stamp still affixed.  The message:
“Hello Lee, How are you all.  What do you want Santa to bring you.  Hope you get lots of tinker.  From Aunt Nell.”
That last part, “lots of tinker” was really hard to read and I may be completely wrong on that.  It appears Tinker Toys came out in 1913-1914 which may put this postcard at the later date of 1918 instead, but it could’ve also been a slang term for toys?  I’m not really sure.  Aunt Nell is likely his father’s sister, Ellen.  Still not 100% sure about the message, but it’s still a great postcard.

Marie Greinader

Presumably given to the family of my great grandmother, Olga, this photo postcard was from Marie Greinader, marked with a check and standing on the front right in the photo.  The year on the back would indicate this was from 1912-1913 for the school year at the Williams School.  I couldn’t quite figure out which school that might mean, but I know there is a Marie Greinader who lived in/around Coalport and Beccaria, PA in Clearfield County which is how she probably knew the family who also lived in Beccaria (they’re also only 3 pages apart on the 1910 census).  Marie was 6 years older than great grandma Olga, so in 1913, Marie would’ve been 19 which was definitely old enough to be a teacher back then.  The kids in the photo are holding a baseball bat, and are the 8th grade class that year.  The class consists of 7 kids – 4 girls and 3 boys.  I was able to find someone else who researched Marie on which filled in more information about her life.  It’s neat to be able to find the connection to people who aren’t related by blood in the photos great grandma saved.  Neighbors and friends become part of a “found family,” especially as immigrants separated from their biological family by an ocean.

RMS Canopic

A postcard of the RMS Canopic, probably from WWI during her service between 1917.  On the back is written in my great grandma’s shaky handwriting from her later years, “Ship Earl was on in the Navy.”  Seeing as Earl, her brother, was serving in WWI for the USA, I doubt he was stationed on this ship, but he may have traded postcards with someone or picked this up for his family back home, and Olga may have gotten it confused with a ship he actually served on as time passed.  This website gives more detail about the ship and its time at sea, but it was scrapped in 1925.  The “RMS” indicates at the time of printing, it was designated as a Royal Mail Ship.  The back states it was published by C.W. Hunt & Co. in Liverpool, and a mark stating, “Printed in Britain,” is in the stamp corner.

Glad Easter Greetings – 1912

Yet another postcard in this series of Maher postcards.  This one brings “Glad Easter Greetings” and has a design on the front featuring a fluffy yellow chick sitting in a hammock of pink flowers that’s held up by two pussy willow branches.  Clovers sprout up underneath the hammock and a city scene is in the far background.  On an image search, I did find an old ebay auction with the exact same postcard.

This postcard is addressed to Lee Maher, and is postmarked 4 April 1912.  Lee would’ve been 8 when he received this.  Here’s the message:
“Hello Lee, how are you.  Do you go to school.  Summer will soon be here then you can play ball.  Tell your mamma to write.  From Uncle James.”
Uncle James Maher on Lee’s father’s side would’ve only been born a year before Lee, so I guess it’s possible he wrote this, maybe with the assistance of an adult.  Not entirely sold on that being the case, but it’s possible!


A Happy Birthday – 1909

Another in the set of Maher Postcards, this one has a design on the front featuring pink and red roses with gilded accents and a message that reads “A Happy Birthday” in red ink.  A delicately gilded heart that looks like a small mirror sits just left of center.

Addressed to Lee Maher, and missing a stamp, this postcard is from his aunt Stella, his mother’s sister.  The writer is wishing him a happy 6th birthday and since part of the cancellation stamp is unclear, that helps tremendously to show this was sent 27 December 1909 (Lee was born 27 December 1903).  Here’s the message:
“Hello Lee, So today you are 6 years old, soon to be a man.  What did Santa bring you for Christmas.  Goodbye, from your Aunt Stella.”
The only identifying marks on the back is that it’s Serie 1600b and printed in Germany.  A quick image search didn’t turn up any duplicates using those details.

Pennsylvania Railroad Ticket 1962

Another neat little piece of saved paper – something that’s usually thrown away, but grandma tucked into her box of correspondence.  The ticket date is May 11, 1962 and lines up with a trip she made to Detroit for a nursing conference.  This is supported by mention of the American Nurses Association conference being held in Detroit from May 14-18 in 1962 on this document found on the internet.  Grandma was in nursing school at the Coatesville Nursing school during that time, and there are even photos of her trip there on some rather degraded slides.  Still, it’s neat to have all those pieces of data to back up the timing and reason for her trip.  So many times in preserving family history, I come across unmarked, undated photos, so it’s pretty incredible to be able to string together an event, a ticket stub, AND photos altogether into one little package.  For me, it’s the little bits of throw-away stuff like train tickets that people saved that really pull the whole thing together, and I love finding items like this!