Business Cards of your Ancestors

Vintage Business Cards & Advertisements

Background | Search

When you think about life in the 21st century, there aren't many workplace "rituals" that we share in common with our ancestors' lives. The exchanging of cards in the business world, however, is one that continues even in the digital age.

If you've had success in locating ancestors in census records, you may have delighted in learning their occupation. Business cards and advertisements can provide even more information about their career, including the name of employer and title of the position they held.

Over the years, we've found business cards at estate sales, auctions, even inside old books we've purchased. They show up just about everywhere! More often, however, many find there way into the trash -- discarded as just another useless piece of paper.

For privacy reasons, we will not be posting images of cards printed after 1950, when area codes were first assigned [more details]. Any newer cards we receive will be included in the search, however, you will only be provided with the person's name, employer name and city/state information.

Search the Business Cards & Advertisements collection

Search through the cards in this collection of over 2,950 names to see if any of your ancestors left behind a calling card for you!

NOTE: Just because someone is in our collection, is by no means an indication that they are deceased. We receive cards from all different time periods, so you may be able to find living relatives as well by searching.

Contributing Business Cards

Effective March 2010, all user contributed document images and transcriptions will be posted to our Family History Wiki upon receipt, and then indexed by the appropriate database project. You are welcome to email us scanned images and/or mail the original documents. Please refer to "Contributing to the Family History Wiki" for instructions.

Business Card Collecting Sites

The following web sites have articles and offer tips and advice:

Want to trade business cards? In the process of acquiring old business cards, we get extras and duplicates. Send us your want list, and we'll let you know if we have any cards that match. All we ask in return are cards with different peoples' names on them (preferrably from prior to 1950).

Business Card Links

Were looking to have your own business cards printed? Here are some interesting alternatives to the plain old black/white cards of the past.

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