Idle Googling…

Yes, it’s been a really long time! I had our third child, Alfred, in February 2015. He was rather unwell when he was born but is now a wonderful, strong and healthy little boy of 13 months. I have also … Continue reading

Beside myself with excitement this evening…

Genealogy is a funny game – sometimes, nothing for ages then a stream of breakthroughs all at once!

Earlier today I was delving into some records and found a branch of the family with sons serving in WWI. Until now, I hadn’t found any ancestors of the right age to be involved. So I am sure there is more digging to be done there to uncover their war stories. One individual, in fact, sadly died in the War in April 1918.

This afternoon I was googling George Campion Postans (as one does!) and found a link to him in a family tree on Ancestry. I am beside myself with how much information is in this family tree which the owner has kindly allowed me access to (the owner is a distant cousin!). It includes some wonderful sources which I will be spending some time examining.

A very good day for the family tree, all in all! Don’t know how I shall sleep for the excitement though!

Newmarket Post Office: A Question Answered!

Yesterday’s blog post profiled my great-grandfather, Frederick George Postans (1839-1922). He lived and worked in Newmarket, Suffolk, for the greater part of his life. He worked as postmaster and lived in the Post Office located in Newmarket High Street. I was musing yesterday whether the existing Post Office was the same one – a Google search (God bless Google!) has revealed the answer.

The Website ‘Newmarket Shops’ has the following information:

  • The Post Office

  • Newmarket’s Post Office was originally across the road at No.122 High Street – now Thing-Me-Bobs, but this was the site of the 5th bomb that struck Newmarket during WWII on February 18th 1941 – the building was destroyed and two people lost their lives there.As a temporary measure the Post Office was transferred to the Memorial Hall – No.144 High Street, where it remained until 1951, when Willoughby House along with Frank Griggs’ house next door were demolished to make way for the present building.

(Found at accessed 9th February 2014)

So, sadly, the original Post Office where Frederick spent virtually all his working life has disappeared. I will continue to try and find out more about the original Post Office and see if I can locate any images. I’ve put out a request on a Newmarket Facebook page so I hope that will bear fruit!

During the course of researching about the Post Office I have also turned up a fascinating account of the destruction of Newmarket High Street on 18th February 1941 during WWII. This is a very interesting side-alley in my research (which genealogy seems to regularly throw up!) and worth perusing although not directly relevant to my family. Sadly a Post Office worker was killed during the raid at his work.


Edit: The Facebook page ‘Old Newmarket’ has kindly linked to a photo in its archive of the old Post Office for me – it was rather thrilling opening this up for the first time and seeing the place where my Great-Grandfather lived and worked in the 1870s-90s. The image was provided by the Newmarket Local History Society and I am linking to it here so that you can click through and see it too! Wow. The power of the internet!

Is this Frederick George Postans?

I mentioned in an earlier post that Dad had shown me a number of family photos in his possession which his sister Jennifer had given to him earlier. The photos were framed and large  – unfortunately we can’t say with … Continue reading

What’s in a name?

Surname Origin

The name Postans…. doesn’t seem *very* English, therefore I think we’ve always wondered exactly where it came from. Dad always thought it had French origins to do with a Postern gate and it seems he was right:

Recorded as Postan, Postance, Poston, Postin, and several others, this is an English surname although one of French origins. It is either topographical or occupational. However spelt the surname describes a dweller by a Postern gate, or more likely the keeper of the gate. It derives from the pre 10th century Old French word “posterle”, and originally described a rear entrance, but in later times was taken to mean the small gate at the side of a portcullis which admitted one person at a time. The word was introduced into the English language after the Norman Conquest of 1066, and the surname followed shortly after, probably as a result of the thousand fortresses that the Normans built to keep their unruly country under control.

I wonder if the original bearers of the surname were Norman, or whether they were simply trusted locals who became gate keepers? I doubt my search can take me back a whole millennium to answer this question definitively but you never know!
What about Postans in WA?
When googling anything to do with ‘Postans’, the suburb of Perth in Western Australia always comes up. Since the Australian connection is strong in our family, I wondered if it had anything to do with us? Postans is such an unusual name.
It seems that George Postans was a British convict transported to Australia in 1850. He was later pardoned and bought a tract of land which came to bear his name. George Postans’s birth is said to have taken place in Hereford, England, and therefore at this stage it seems like the wrong geographical location to be related to our branch of the family. I will update this if anything turns up which does seem to link us!