Ye olde Facebook?

Scrolling through old newspapers, I quite often come across articles – totally unrelated to my own research – that catch my eye.

I get easily distracted, then interested, then, well…sometimes amused (the early advertisements in particular).

Since finding my own ancestors is at times full of stumps, what better way to procrastinate carry on than to check out the ‘stories’ of other families?  They may not provide any more clues to connect the puzzle pieces, but it does sometimes provide a great insight into the time.

Seeing snippets from ‘The Social Notes’ in the 1900’s (and later parts of 1800) had me thinking about them in terms of today. Back then, it seems that many people took to sharing their ‘status updates’ in the local newspaper.

Turns out that some of our great-great-grandparents were already pioneers in social media!

One of the main differences being no immediate interaction; Mrs Smith, on seeing Mrs Taylor’s social goings-on had to wait until the next issue for updates, or ‘post’ one of her own to show what her family had been up to…or something like that.

They always make me smile, and often I want to know more.

Like Merle Henry in 1929. I imagine today’s Merle would have received a few ‘likes’ on this one (and possibly ended it with #TGIF).  And I hope Miss Anderson settled in OK at Melbourne:

Miss Merle Henry, of the Postal Department, Deloraine, is now on annual leave and is visiting Hobart.

Miss H. Anderson, of North Hobart, and Miss B. Reilly, of Upper Calder, have been staying at Wynyard with Miss Conroy.  Miss Anderson left for Melbourne on Saturday night, where she now resides.


I don’t know about you, but if five different friends all posted on Facebook about heading to Derby at the same time, my question would be ‘What’s the deal in Derby?‘, or even ‘Can I come?‘:

They're all going to Derby!
1941 – The Launceston Examiner


Party at Mr and Mrs Clark’s place!

Oh, and I hope your stay at the Cornwall was nice, Andrews family:

1941 – The Launceston Examiner


I love this next one. Instagram a-la 1898.  Not a filtered, carefully arranged photo in sight, but you can almost ‘see’ the festoons in their ‘veritable bower’:

At the marriage of Miss Frean and Mr Johnstone on Wednesday last at St John’s the decorartions were exquisite and most lavish. Festoons and clusters of lovely white blossoms, palms, and ferns converted the chancel into a veritable bower, and throughout the church the greatest taste was displayed in the arrangement of flowers.


Get well soon, Tas x.

Enjoy your visit to Launceston, Mr Wilson:

Circular Hear Chronicle 7 Aug 1946
1946 – Circular Hear Chronicle


Today’s version of this (also from 1898) would probably be the ‘motivational quotes on inspiring photos’ posts you often see.  Well…maybe with a bit of tweaking:

Some Proverbs- A grain of prudence is worth a pound of craft. Boasters are cousins to liars. Denying a fault doubles it. Envy shoots at others and wounds herself. It costs more to revenge wrongs than to suffer them. Learning makes a man at company for himself.


I hope you backed a winner, Mr Ferguson:

1940 - Circular Head Chronicle
1940 – Circular Head Chronicle


So while they’re not my family, I do appreciate that they’ve taken the time to share their snippets.  For those who chose to, and took the time (much like social media of today), they have given us insight, years later, into the ‘social notes’ of their lives.

It also makes me wonder what our own distant relatives will find 70, or even 100 years from now.

I’m sure they’ll love the food photos. 😉

2 thoughts on “Ye olde Facebook?

    • Thanks, Laurie! Today we have so much more available to us, but the similarities are there. A very ‘social’ bunch in some cases (not ‘my’ family though, sadly). Thanks for dropping by. 🙂


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