Using old postcards as research…..

Those members who were at the first One Place Studies conference in Telford last year will have heard me talking about my WW1 War Memorial books and how I researched them.

One area of research I really enjoy is searching for old postcards relating to the places or names I am researching and trying to link the locations, the addresses to the census or see if the recipient is a member of the family who has married or moved away.

For example I was very lucky during my Aldeburgh World War 1 research to find an old postcard sent from the WW1 frontline in 1917 to an address in Aldeburgh and was able to include this in my book.

Postcard from the Front 1917  Postcard from the Front 1917 reverse

I have also spent time when I have purchased a bundle of old postcards at a car boot sale to research the names on the cards, to see if they feature in any family trees on Ancestry and again this way I have been able to reunite these items with closer family members who are interested in adding them to their own family research.

Although this takes time to do it has paid dividends to me as over the course of the last year various genealogy friends and contacts have found postcards which mention Parham my One Place Study or LAST my One Name Study and they have very kindly either sent me a message about them or bought and sent them to me.


Parham Hall 11 3 14 Front  Parham Hall 11 3 14 Reverse


Jane postcard 1 16 5 14  Jane postcard 2 16 5 14

Again with my WW1 interest I recently found some old photo postcards of a Soldier that simply said Uncle Will SAWYER on the reverse and with it in the second hand shop were some other postcards addressed to a SAWYER family in Buxhall in Suffolk, again using Ancestry I have been able to find a relative and reunite these photos, which always gives a great sense of satisfaction.

Postcard 4 front  Postcard 4 back

Postcard 3 front   Postcard 3 back

Therefore spread the word about the places you are researching for your One Place Study or the names for your One Name Study via Facebook pages, blogs, Twitter etc. so that people have those names in their minds when they are trawling car boot sales, postcard fairs, EBay etc. as you never know what may turn up in your post one day!

Simon LAST


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Did they or Didn’t they? – George SOLE & Eliza BARKER continued

Following on from my earlier post George SOLE has now been found in the 1871 census living in Badingham in Suffolk with Eliza BARKER and two children George BARKER aged 7 and Sarah BARKER aged 3. The record has been transcribed as SOLL, but on looking at the original it reads as SOLE.

George SOLL 1871 Census

George’s occupation is shown as a Great Eastern Railway Porter.

Ten years later in 1881 George SOLE is living in Bradford with Eliza SOLE his wife (although I can find no marriage record to verify this) with children George SOLE aged 17 a Shop Porter and Sarah SOLE aged 13 a scholar – George’s occupation is shown as a Railway Checker.

George Sole 1881 censusGeorge Sole page 2 1881 census

Well this answers my Did they or Didn’t they? question, because even if they had not married on 25th December 1865 they were still together 16 years later with two children.


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Did they or didn’t they? – George SOLE & Eliza BARKER

Whilst searching the parish registers of St Michael’s Church in Framlingham today I was intrigued to find the following marriage entry:

25th December 1865 George SOLE full age (bachelor) clerk in the goods station off. Eliza BARKER full age (Spinster) of Framlingham

Groom’s father –

Bride’s father – Samuel BARKER

And then the following addendum:

Please note this entry in the register was crossed out with the flowing note:-

N.B. the banns were published 3 times but the parties did not present themselves at the church for the marriage G.A. Rector

George Sole marriage 1866

Bearing in mind that the wedding date was 25th December Christmas Day I bet the Rector was none too pleased!!

I have then looked to see if George SOLE and Eliza BARKER married at a later date, but can find no evidence for this.

However I have found George SOLE  in the 1861 aged 21 (born in Cambridge) living as a Lodger in Framlingham and working as a Railway Porter – strangely however I  have been unable to find no trace of him still living in Framlingham in the 1871 census!

George Sole 1861 census

I wonder why the marriage didn’t happen and will have to see what other information I can find!


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Investigating more family death cards – William LAST & Ethel Maud DIX

Following on from my recent research into the death cards and causes of death for George and John DIX I have now researched further the remaining two cards I have.

William LAST was my Great Great Grandfather and he died in Parham on 5th December 1902 aged 62 – on ordering his death certificate I have found out that he died from Typhoid Fever.

william     William Last death cert

William was a Thatcher and was involved with thatching many of the cottages in and around the village of Parham.

Last Property 010

Thatched cottage in Parham

Ethel Maud DIX was my first cousin two times removed and her death card says that she died after a long and painful illness on 22nd March 1919 aged 32 – her death certificate shows that she died in Parham from Pulmonary Tuberculosis, often referred to as consumption.

ethel  Ethel Maud Dix death cert

I have also discovered that Ethel had a six year old son Horace Leonard DIX who was born on 28th January 1913 and when she died he was brought up by other members of the extended DIX family.

The informant on the death certificate was her younger sister Violet Dolly DIX who was only aged 19 at the time.

I have found these death cards fascinating to research and I am so grateful that someone preserved them within the family.

Simon Last            

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Does a ‘good innings’ run in the family – Martha DIX 1770 -1873

Again using the British newspaper archive website I have been lucky to find a newspaper report in the Bath Chronicle (although the event was in Suffolk!) from Thursday 3rd April 1873 about the death of my 4 times Great Grandmother Martha DIX nee CATTERMOLE.

The report states that Mrs Martha DIX who had completed her 103rd birthday on 6th January last, was buried on Friday in the churchyard of St James, Dunwich, Suffolk. She was surrounded at the grave by a numerous progeny of descendants, the eldest among whom was a daughter aged 82. (Progeny refers to a genetic descendant or offspring)

Bath Chronicle 3 4 1873 Martha DIX

On obtaining  copy of Martha’s death certificate I was able to ascertain that she died on the 24th March 1873 having been born on the 6th January 1770 and her cause of death was given as ‘Natural Decay’

Martha Dix (nee Cattermole)

I am descended from Martha and Joseph DIX’s son Joseph and I can therefore only imagine all the family stories that were shared on the occasion of this funeral back in 1873 and I am keeping my fingers crossed that I live as long and full a life as Martha!

Dunwich Reunion 021    Dunwich Reunion 019

St James Church in Dunwich in Suffolk

Simon Last   


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Althea COOPER of Framlingham relict of Abraham who fell in the American War

Whilst carrying out some research on the British Newspaper Archive website today I was interested to find this death notice in the Ipswich Journal from Tuesday 26th November 1872 for an Althea COOPER and the mention of Abraham COOPER who fell in the American War.

The Ipswich Journal 26 November 1872

Althea was the daughter of Mr Constantine WOOLNOUGH a Plumber of Framlingham.

I have now found Althea COOPER a widow and a United States Pensioner aged 46 in the 1871 census records living at number 9 Fore Street in Framlingham with her son Lindsay C COOPER aged 9 who was born in Ohio in the USA.

1871 Census Althea COOPER

Source Citation – Class: RG10; Piece: 1762; Folio: 4; Page: 1; GSU roll: 830789

Source Information – 1871 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004.

There are many old photographs of Framlingham in Suffolk on the Historical Photo Archive website at

I have then found a Military record for Abraham COOPER in Ohio showing his enlistment date of 3rd September 1864 withy the 9th U.S Heavy Colored Artillery – he is aged 23 and his occupation is given as a Barber.

US Troops Military History 3 9 1864

Source Citation -The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Compiled Military Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served with the United States Colored Troops: Artillery Organizations; Microfilm Serial: M1818; Microfilm Roll: 155

Source Information – U.S., Colored Troops Military Service Records, 1863-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007.

I need to some more research to see if they married in the UK or the USA and I wonder how they met!

Simon Last

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John DIX died 4th April 1895

Further to my recent research into the death notice card for George DIX and the discovery that he had died in a tragic accident on the railway, I also had a death card for John DIX George’s brother, who had died five years later on 4th April 1895 aged 23.

john dix

Again as he died so young I was intrigued as to the cause of his death and on receipt of his death certificate found that the cause was recorded as Epilepsy – from this certificate I also discovered that his occupation had been a Gamekeeper the same as his father James Holmes DIX.

John Dix death cert

I have a photograph of James DIX and his wife Eliza at their Gamekeepers cottage in Parham Wood in Suffolk with two of their children.

James Dix & Eliza Clowe Parham Wood

I looked at the 1891 census and found the family living at this cottage and John was aged 19, living with his siblings Emily, Ellen (my Great Grandmother), Charles and Amy.

1891 Census John Dix

It must have been heart-breaking for the family losing these sons so young and due to the death notice cards being kept within the family I have been able to research their stories further.

Simon Last

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