The Post Office was a bit of a community center, especially in rural areas and also historically elsewhere.
We used to know the names of the person who delivered the mail. Unfortunately that is no longer the case in most circumstances.
But there is hope if you had an ancestor who worked for the Post Office, either as an employee or a contractor. Check out these links. There are tons of resources available but these listed below are certainly a great place to start.
Some are available online and some only by microfilm - but sometimes interlibrary loan is available.
- United States - Post Office Records from the National Archives
- Great Britain - British Postal Service Appointment Books, 1737-1969 - available via subscription to ancestry.com
- Great Britain - Postal Museum - Family History Research Page
- United States - Kansas Historical Society
- Scotland - Scottish Post Office Directories
- United States - State of Washington Postal Employees
- United States - US Postal Service - People - Various lists such as African-American and Women Postmasters and other Postal Employees
- United States - Postmasters and Post Offices from Texas
- United States - U.S., Appointments of U. S. Postmasters, 1832-1971 - available via subscription to ancestry.com
- World - FamilySearch has over 400 entries (some are records; most are books; some are online; most are on microfilm) related to "Postal History". Also over 1,300 entries for "Post Office"
- Canada - Canada Post Offices and Postmasters
- United States - Sources of Historical Information - on Post Offices, Postal Employees, Mail Routes, and Mail Contractors - a U.S. Postal Service publication (pdf)
And if you are interested in history, names of post offices, or postal employees from a specific county or parish, you might want to use your favorite search engine to find out if there are resources specifically for that location.