52 Prompts in 52 Weeks #1 – Amanuensis Monday – 1976 Postcard

Welcome to the first post of my 2018 project!

An amanuensis is a person whose job is to write down what another person says or to copy what another person has written. This particular Monday prompt is designed to encourage bloggers to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. I think this postcard fits into either the letter or the historical artifacts category.

My aunt, Mercedes (Strait) Scabet, received the postcard pictured below in 1976 when her aunt, Bernice (Strait) Wood, was traveling in Europe. Bernice’s brother, Williams Charles Strait, Sr., was Mercedes’ father. Here is the family connection:

(Clicking on the Family View Report above will bring it up in another window with much clearer format.)

The front of the postcard has a view of some distinctive buildings, very German looking. There is also a fountain in the foreground on the left.

Front of the postcard

The descriptions [and translation/explanation] on the back of the postcard read as follows:

At the top left corner
Gastastätte Burgruine Landshut [restaurant named Burgruine Landshut like the castle nearby]
Inh. Barbara Rüter [proprietor’s name]
555 Bernkastel-Kues, Tel. 0 65 31 / 24 91 [address and phone number]

At the bottom left corner
555 Bernkastel a. d. Mosel – Marktplatz [the marketplace in front of the restaurant]

Overlay on the stamp
Bitburg [cancellation city]
An der Pforte De Südeifel [located “at the gate of the southern Eifel” which is a mountain range]

Circular postmark
Bitburg [cancellation city]
-8-6.76-19 [date of 08 June 1976]

Bernkastel-Kues is a city that is split into two by the Moselle River. Bernkastel is to the east of the river and Kues is to the west. It is a well-known wine-growing center on the Middle Moselle in the Bernkastel-Wittlich district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. One of the major attractions, and subject of the postcard, is the medieval marketplace surrounded by spectacular gabled timber-frame houses from the 17th century and earlier. The fountain in the foreground of the postcard picture is called St. Michaelsbrunnen or St. Michael’s fountain.

Google maps has the a view of the city with the castle marked on the river bank at a significant bend. The castle Burgruine Landshut, built in 1277, burned in 1692 and is now just a ruin.

Source: Google maps

I see that the 50 pfg (=fennig, a German penny) postage stamp, picturing a radio telescope, on the back is from a 1975 German series on industry and technology. This matches with the cancellation date of 08 June 1976.

Back of the postcard

The postcard was sent to Sadie’s address of 11 Lincoln Place, Newton NJ 07860. The message from Bernice to Sadie and her husband James Scabet was this:

Hi Folks, I’m having a wonderful time. We have getting [sic] around every minute seeing the sights. We go to London on a five day tour Wednesday. I’ve seen two castles already. They are something. Love, Bernice.

So, what genealogy significance does this postcard have? It tells us a few things:

  • Bernice Wood was alive in June of 1976
  • Sadie and Jim Scabet were living in Newton, New Jersey, on Lincoln Place in 1976

One could use this information to track down deeds to the Scabet’s house on Lincoln Place. One would know not to look for any death record for Bernice before early June of 1976. One could look for 1976 passenger manifests in which Bernice Wood appears.

It didn’t really add anything to my family tree. I just like it for being interesting postcard and enjoyed the little bit of research I did for this blog to find out about Bernkastel-Kues. And I did transcribe a familial historical artifact, the point of the prompt for this week!


2 thoughts on “52 Prompts in 52 Weeks #1 – Amanuensis Monday – 1976 Postcard

  1. Bernice was my Grandmother on my Fathers side of my family. She came to visit with me when I was stationed at Bitburg Air Base while serving in the Air Force. Grandma was only going to come over for a short visit but ended up staying quit a while. Thank you for posting a picture of Bern Kastel. It brought back a lot of memories. My son Richard Allen Wood III was born in Bitburg on October 5 1976.


  2. Hi Richard! Thank you for commenting and glad the postcard brought back memories for you. When we were little, my sisters and I visited Bernice at her house on Sussex Street in Newton. I’m sure my grandmother Bea Strait was with us when we visited. I remember that Bernice gave each of us a snowy white Teddy Bear for Christmas one year. I think my sister Jill may still have hers!


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