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.
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.