Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What's in your attic?

My husband and I spent last summer getting organized. Top of the list was to clean out the attic.

While pulling down various items, we discovered an old family steamer. My husband insisted there was nothing of value inside the chest.

When I opened the lid ... genealogy gold! Inside were letters, husband's baby book and tons of postcards. Jackpot!

The postcards were sent to my mother-in-law from her father, Francis A. Starr. Most of Rachel's early years he was a traveling salesman.

Sometimes her mother, Mary Ann, accompanied him on these trips. Rachel was left in the care of a family friend. The postcards allow us to track some of her parent's movements.

This postcard was sent from Crotherville to Terre Haute Indiana. On Google Maps we find Crotherville 147 miles southeast of Terre Haute.

Searching online for Rider Packing Company in Crotherville, Indiana, we find a few items of interest. A recent eBay auction for a similar postcard, sold for $31.00. Also, in 1916 there was a legal case brought against the company.

January of 1914
Francis has traveled to Des Moines, Iowa
Miss Rachel Starr is seven months old
home in the care of her mother

September of 1914
Francis and Mary Ann travel to Springfield, Illinois.
Miss Rachel E. Starr is fourteen months of age
in the care of a family friend

How fun to get a little glimpse into Rachel's early life. These are not just bits of paper, but important family history.

What is in your attic? Do you have a story waiting to be told?


  1. When I got into a trunk in my dad's basement, I found his high school diploma, his Coast Guard dress uniform (which he wore when he eloped with my mom) and her wedding suit. Good lesson for our fellow family historians... leave no trunk unopened!

    1. TK,

      What amazing discoveries! Love the dress uniform. Hope you write about them. You are right, leave no trunk unopened! No stone unturned!

  2. That was an amazing find, Deb! How cool! We have some photos of a trip - by car no less! - that my MILs father took from MN to CA sometime prior to 1925 when he married. I really want to piece together his trip. You're getting that dream stirred up again!

    1. Stephanie,

      Thanks for leaving a comment! Thinking you need to write about your wonderful gems sometime soon?!

  3. Replies
    1. Jenny,

      Glad you liked the post. I will never forget the goosebumps where these items came out of the trunk!

  4. Great find! Mine wasn't an attic but a storage unit of my parents' that no one had looked at in years. Inside was a goldmine - letters back and forth from my grandparents from 1917-1919, my great grandparents' autograph books, my grandmother's scrapbook, pictures, and the list goes on. I could live to be 117 and not get everything documented :-)

    1. Debi,

      WOW! Sounds like a true treasure chest. How lucky we are to have ancestors who were pack rats!

  5. Love these vintage post cards! I've found so much in my parents' house tucked here and there. I'm afraid I'll never get through it all. I haven't been in the attic yet. I should be thankful they were such pack rats :) Genealogy gold.

    1. Catherine,

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. Sounds like you have some wonderful treasures too. Yes, be very happy they were pack rats. Just think of all the wonderful memories and information that would be lost forever! Congrats on your genealogy gold.

  6. Deb,

    What wonderful treasures you found! My maternal grandparents collected postcards over the years. I've created a blog in which I share those vintage postcards. They are so interesting.

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a wonderful weekend!

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