Posted by on May 24, 2014 |

The thing about researching postcards is that we tend to know more about recipients than senders. But could little tidbits listed on a few postcards lead us to understand the relationship between Lizzie and a particular sender?

While contemplating this question, four postcards attracted our attention:

The thing that drew us to these cards is that Ella’s personal information may be spread across them. If we could prove that the author of these four cards was the same person, then we’d have a complete name to research: “Ella V. Kinnally.” Perhaps we could use handwriting analysis to make the link?

Figure 1 illustrates some of the writing similarities:


Figure 1: Writing samples for Ellen V. Kinnally


  • The words “Ella” and “From” contain similarities.
  • The “E,” “V,” and “K” show similarities with other instances of them in “Ella” and “Kinnally.”
  • Note the similarities in the  “c/o M.C.A” of the two postcards that were addressed to 149 Staniford Street, Boston.

Therefore, based on the analysis above, we feel it’s safe to conclude that “Ella,” “E.V.K” and “Ella Kinnally” are one in the same person. So, what can we find out about her?

  • According to birth records, Ella Veronica Kinnally was born on November 4, 1887  to James H. and Annie L. Kinnally of 28 Tufts Street, Boston, Massachusetts.
  • The 1900 United States Federal Census lists her as fourteen year old girl who is living with her parents at 71 Pearl Street, “Chelsea City,” Massachusetts.
  • The 1910 United States Federal Census lists her as a young woman of twenty-two, who is living with her parents at 107 Beacon Street in Chelsea City, Massachusetts.

That means that an 18-19 year old Ella sent postcards to a 38-39 year old Lizzie. So, what was their relationship? How did they know each other? Were they neighbors? Did they go to the same church? The records tell us something fascinating.

All three documents indicate that Ella’s father, James, was a “Cigar Maker.” And the 1910 census says that he worked at a “Cigar Factory.” Perhaps Lizzie and James worked together at the M.C.A. factory, giving her the opportunity to meet his daughter? Or did Lizzie and Ella have a more direct connection?

The 1910 census offers the clearest answer to that question: Ella is listed as a 22-year old “Bookkeeper” at a “Cigar Factory!”


Sources used in this post:



  • Although it appears that plenty of room once existed on a “standard-sized” 5.5″ x 3.5″ card, the reality is that before March 1, 1907, The United States Postal Service prohibited senders from writing on the address side. Some manufacturers from this “Early” postcard era (Before March 1, 1907) created some room to write on the front as in the following postcards: August 25, 19040 and September 1905.
  • We question how strictly the rule was enforced, though. Some of Lizzie’s friends wrote on the prohibited side seventeen months before the restriction was lifted.
  • The time after March 1, 1907 is known as the “Split-back” era.