Sunday, September 15, 2013

There May Be Something In Those Old Letters....

Do you have some old letters at your house?
Written to a deceased relative by another relative you don't know?
They probably do not mean a thing to you.

At the reunion I met a new cousin, Lois from Arizona.
She had never been to the reunion before, but her brother had been coming for several years.
It was a delight to get to know her.
Her Great Great Grandfather and My Great Great Grandmother were siblings.

When she got home she sent me a email.
"I found some letters Annie Galbreath had written to my Grandmother in the 1940's, 
would you like them?"
As you may know my Great Aunt Annie was the keeper of our history and my cousin has given me all her letters, pictures and diaries which we have been scanning.
Aunt Annie 
I am in awe of what she accomplished with just a pen and paper.
We know about our family today because of her.

And here is her 2nd cousin Frank and his wife Greta who she wrote to
these are Lois Grandparents

Lois told me I probably would not learn anything new? 

I was so excited I could not wait to read them.
They start in 1940 before the war, they end in 1945 when the boys are coming home.
It started as writing a letter to learn about family history.
But over the years it turned into a friendship.
They lived about 40 miles from each other but with war rationed gas it might as well of been 400 miles. But they did visit with each other in person.

What did I learn? A great deal. I learned when my Dad was drafted all he wrote about was how much he missed going to school. I did not know he wanted to go to the University of Illinois and would of if he had not gotten drafted in HS and left after graduation.
I also read about how they talked about information they got from another family member.
That person, I just met her Grandson at the reunion this year.

I found out that my family had been in touch with some family in Tennessee, going back to the 1780's.
They talked about the 1767 family bible. They talked about a distant cousin who died in Singapore when he was a Missionary, and that my Aunt had a oil painting of him? 
Where is it? She also had letters he wrote from Singapore in 1838 to the family.
He had written asking about a slave named Phyllis, remembering her under the Walnut tree.
I had someone from the University of Georgia contact me about Phyllis and I did a great deal of research and her there was information about her in a letter in 1941.
So Lois I am so glad you came to Illinois
and so glad you sent me those letters.
See there was something in those old letters.........
But even better some 70 years later we are all still together.


Paulette said...

Another interesting post, how fortunate you are to have al, of these family treasures.

NanaDiana said...

My gosh, Ann! What a treasure trove of information in those letters. It is just wonderful that you have them. My father was in WWI and I have most of the letters he wrote home to the family. I made copies of them and gave them to my son- xo Diana

Betsy@My Salvaged Treasures said...

What an inspirational post, I love your story. It's amazing how a tiny bit of information can fill in so many gaps. What a blessing it's been to get to know your cousin Lois.

Linda said...

We just found letters from my husband's maternal grandfather written only one month before he lost his life when the Allies bombed the train station in his Dutch village in 1944. Now he isn't just the tiny photo in the silver picture frame. Linda@Wetcreek Blog

ann said...

I have letters that my dad wrote to his parents when he lest Colorado to take his first job after graduating college at U od Denver. He moved to Rhode Island. I came to know a very different man. Your letters are treasures.

Sally Annie Magundy said...

Hi Ann!

I love this post. I have some letters from family members, wish there were lots more. I have this thirst to know things - if only I had felt this way when my parents were alive WAH!
My mothers family also had a chronicler, I need to see if I can find his descendants.


Susie said...

Ann, You are the family history keeper now. You do a very good job with all the history too. I love seeing old letters. Blessings, xoxo,Susie

Donna said...

Amazing that those letters still survive, Ann! I too love old letters and postcards. And the stamps, too. In this day of emails and texts, it's sad to think that letter writing has become a lost art!!

Pam~ Virginia Retro said...

How wonderful that you have these letters to experience their stories! Know you cherish them. Your family has such a wonderful love of family history. :) Pam

Shirley said...

Not too many families can say they have such wonderful treasures from the past. You are one lucky lady to hold these memories in the palm of your hand. Just Wonderful...

Debbie said...

How wonderful for you to have all of those memories to read. What a blessing to learn the history of your family. Not many people have such an opportunity.