Searching Partial City & Town Names on Postcards
We just published this tool for doing partial match searches for US City & State Names:
This is especially useful for postcard collectors and postal historians for identifying locations when you might have a few letters from a postmark or maybe the writing is unclear.
This comes up often in the Photo Postcards RPPC Unidentified Images Facebook group. This week a member posted this unidentified real photo card:
Not a lot to go on, except the sender writes that one of the buildings is the "First National Bank". That doesn't narrow it down much.
Luckily, they also posted the back of the card:
This gives us a few more clues. Maybe Wisconsin? Or related to Mammie Miller?
At first glance, the postmark doesn't look decipherable, with only 3 or 4 letters and no state:
Is it WAPO? NAFO? NARO? Hard to say.
But, the A is most likely in the middle of the word, and there are most likely only 4 or 5 letters on either side of the A. That can narrow it down significantly. Using the partial search tool, we can enter a few queries like:
...AFO.. - Returns Hanaford, IL (maybe)
...APO.. - Returns Tagapofu, AS (That's a definite "no)
....AFO.. - Returns Hannaford, ND & Stanaford, WV (probably not WV)
Based on it looking like a small "frontier town", Hannaford ND seems like a good place to start.
A quick Google Search confirms there was indeed a First National Bank in Hannaford:
And it does look very similar to the stone building in the postcard.
Another quick search on Google Maps and we're able to locate the building today:
Another Google Search for Hannford ND Main Street Antique Photo turns up an exact match for our unidentified street scene: