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More Than Just Mail: Post Office Records and the Insights They Provide Into Our Ancestors Reading Habits and Life (Records)

July 22 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm EDT


Post offices aren’t just about mail!  They used to define communities, many long forgotten. They handled newspaper subscriptions revealing great grandpa’s politics (was he a Whig or Democrat?), religion (did he read Methodist publications), and more (was he a horse breeder?)!  We are discussing post office records not found in the National Archives (NARA). We are not talking about employee records.  We are talking about post office/postmaster records found in manuscript collections across the country.  Talk about discovering fascinating details about our ancestors (aka putting some “meat on the bones”) via their reading habits.  Information that may not be found anywhere else!  Sometimes, we can leverage this information via new-to-us intel (aka clues).  Priceless.

We’ll cover …

  • Overview of some historical context about the postal service and mail delivery
  • The shift from post office to post office delivery to universal home delivery
  • Myriad Post-Office services provided for which ledgers/accounts/volumes survive [source of Information about ancestors]
  • Handling newspaper/magazine subscriptions
  • Numerous Examples of the above – learn about ancestors’ political & religious beliefs, activities of interest, hobbies, and more.
  • Surviving Newspaper/magazine subscription lists – approaching the research from the other side.  Can we find that they read a particular publication?


July 22
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm EDT
Webinar Category:


Diane L. Richard


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H628B Post Office 24-07-22
$ 25.00