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How Does Philatelic Genealogy Work?

 

All American genealogists face the question of where an immigrant ancestor lived before coming to America. An old envelope may provide a clue. Here is the front and back of an envelope sent from Germany to the USA in 1910:

 

       

photo_1_Steinheim_to_LA_1910_obv_eBay_120373277750       photo_3_Steinheim_to_LA_1910_rev_eBay_120373277750

 

 

Miss Frida Körner of 227 West Adams (previously residing at 790 East 12th Street) in Los Angeles, California received a letter in 1910 from Steinheim an der Murr, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The back of the envelope has Gruss aus Steinheim a. d. Murr (Greetings from Steinheim an der Murr) printed on the flap and a hand-written note ("hello Frida, Ma") apparently from Frida's mother. Freida L. Korner, a 28 year-old German immigrant, of 217 West Adams Street appears in the 1910 US census in Los Angeles, California (Enumeration District 179, page 4B) working as a servent. The Frida who received the envelope is probably the Freida in the census. Using Frida's age of 28 years on 10 April 1910 (the day the census was taken), Frida's date of birth can be estimated as sometime between 11 April 1881 and 10 April 1882. Research in birth records from Steinheim an der Murr between those dates will be needed to determine if Frida was born in Steinheim an der Murr. An envelope alone does not provide proof of an immigrant's place of origin but it provides a clue. This evidence must be verified using other sources from the native country, before reaching any conclusions.