Civil War · Military · Photos

Allan’s Sister is an Only Child – Another Photo Mystery to Solve!

coupleWhen I found this postcard, I thought I had an easy one.

So many clues! No stamp block this time, but even better, a cancelled stamp.  The 1 cent Benjamin Franklin (green, profile, with olive branches) was in use from 1908 to 1922.

The post mark is not perfect, but we can plainly see the cancel date of Feb 25, 1911 in Oklahoma.

There are further clues to be considered in the card itself, since an older card can be mailed at a later date. The words Post Card were not in use until after Dec 28, 1901. Older cards contained the phrase: Private Mailing Card, Authorized by Act of Congress on May 19, 1898.

Notice that the card back is divided with correspondence on the left and name and address on the right. The divided back was not seen until March 1907. So far, so good.

The post card was printed between 1907 and the sent date of 1911.


See Chicago Postcard Museum website for additional information on postcard history:

The card is signed by Olga and Allan, with love to mother. A note on the front of the card in a different handwriting is addressed “Hello little sister”, and appears to be initialed by Allan, not Olga. Working on the premise that Allan is Virginia’s brother, we begin our search.

Looking at the 1910 census, we see Virginia Dickerson, single, age 23 living with her widowed mother Jesse, age 48, at the Ohio address written on the post card. In 1900, the census taker overachieved, giving full birthdates for Robert H Dickerson (born Sept 4, 1950), his wife Jesse F (born May 19, 1861) and daughter Virginia (born Oct 31, 1886). No other sibling was listed. In 1880, we see Robert Dickerson, age 29 and Jessie, age 20 with no children. Allan could have been born in the early 1880’s and been out of his parents’ home by 1900. The 1890 census would have been helpful to test this theory, but is not available.

Looking at the 1910 census for Lawton, Oklahoma, following the postmark and return address on the card, I was unable to find Allan or Olga Dickerson. In fact, I could find no records of Allan Dickerson with father Robert, sister Virginia or wife Olga in Oklahoma, Ohio or any other state. Looking at on-line family trees for Jesse and Virginia, I find no mention of Allan. In the 1910 census, women were asked: mother of how many children? Revisiting the census record of Jesse Dickerson, we find she answered 1 child born, 1 child now living. Hmm, this could be a problem.  Allan’s sister is an only child!

Jesse Dickerson’s Indiana death certificate lists her father as Jacob Bushong. The initials on the card could easily be AB. Perhaps Allan is Jesse’s brother. Looking for Jesse and Allan Bushong in the 1870 census, I find Jesse Bushong, age 9, living with a Samuel Miller family in Allen County, Indiana. No sign of Allan.  We still don’t know for sure if Olga is Allan’s wife or that the happy couple on the card are Allan and Olga. Back to research!


Found on

After banging my head against a brick computer for days, still no signs of Olga or Allan Bushong, but I did find an excellent clue! This Civil War Pension index record for Jacob H Bushong tells us he served in Co H, 14th Mo. Inf.  Elizabeth Bushong filed for a widow’s pension Feb 16, 1863 implying Jacob’s death in or before 1863. We have confidence this is the right Jacob because Jesse F. Dickerson filed for a minors pension Aug 24, 1885. Does this explain Jesse living with another family in 1870? Did Elizabeth die in 1885? Were there other children? To answer these questions, all I have to do is go to the National Archives and Records Administration website ( and use the on-line forms and the pension application numbers from the index to order either or both pension records. Service records may also be available, but are generally not as helpful to genealogists.

fold3Found on Fold3

The minor’s pension filed by Jesse Dickerson in 1885 is tempting, but to see all the children of Jacob and Elizabeth the widow’s pension filed in 1863 gives us a better chance. My only question: do I want to spend a minimum of $30 for the basic records (up to 8 pages) or $80 for the complete packet to discover if Jesse (Bushong) Dickerson had a brother Allan or sister Olga? If this was my own family, I would be typing out the on-line form and warming up the credit card right now! For a post card puzzle, I think I’ll let this one simmer on the back burner for a bit.  Maybe in time I’ll find that missing record or come up with new places to look! Any ideas for me?

Submitted by Alice Clark, SBAGS President,


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