Monday, October 29, 2012

X is for XMAS Greetings from the past

This unusual Christmas Greeting from 1916 emphasises that you should do your own research and not believe all family stories.

"A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from across the Sea      1916"

"Silver Leaves"

My Grand Aunty has this leaf in her collection and believed that it was sent to her grandfather, James Pilgrim, (my Great Great Grandfather) from family in England.

However, I am very confident that the leaf was from my Great Grand Uncle, Lloyd Geyer, to his sister Mabel Pilgrim (nee Geyer), who is my Great Grandmother and the mother of my Grand Aunty who now has the leaf.

How did I come to that conclusion?

  • James Pilgrim's parents and siblings were all deceased by 1916 so I don't believe that it would come from them.
  • The leaf appear to be from the Silver Leaf Protea of Africa. The Australian Infantry Forces were in Egypt and Africa during the war. 
  • Lloyd Geyer was away at War (the 57th Battalion were in Egypt until late December 1916) and therefore Christmas Cards would not be easily available and a leaf makes a good alternative
  • And finally, the writing on the leaves appears to be the same a Lloyd Geyer's writing on other correspondence and the Defence Force enlistment application.
The 1918 card below was definitely from Lloyd Geyer to his sister Mabel.

Dear Mabel, 
     Just a few lines to let you know that I am quite well 
hoping these few lines find you all the same.
This is one of our Bat'n cards and the names on the inside is where we have been boxing on their is more to add to it yet.  I am miles away from no where at present.
Well I must close now with the best Love from your loving brother
Lloyd xxxx

Great Grand Uncle Lloyd Geyer who wrote the above Xmas Greetings
click to enlarge

1914 - 1918
click to enlarge

Emily Pilgrim was born 1914 and Lloyd and Eva Pilgrim's sister was born in 1919 and she isn't included.  Therefore I estimate that this card is from between 1914 - 1918.

click to enlarge
Friends & Cousins
Eva and Emily Pilgrim

Another card from Emily Pilgrim to her cousin (and my grandmother) Eva Pilgrim in 1922

Cousins Margaret Maybery and Lorna Pilgrim
25th December 1928

You may have seen the photo on the right in one of my prior posts, but I just love this picture of Christmas morning 1928.

On Christmas Day 1942, during World War II, my grandfather wrote a letter from "Abroad".  My grandmother would not have known where he was at the time but we know now that he was in the Middle East.

"Well Christmas is about over now for this year & I hope you had a good time tho I know how you would miss me very much but better luck next time.  We had an extra good dinner of turkey & pork & plenty of roast vegetables, plum pudding, fruit salad and sauce.  The tea was very good too but I missed the good old Xmas cake".  
The letter was closed with "All my love & kisses to you all now & forever from your own lonely husband who is longing to see you all again & very soon. Cheerio now with all my love darling & just keep on smiling for my sake.  Yours always and forever, Allan"

To my Mother in 1950

My first Christmas card?
1967 or 1968
Click picture to see more "X" posts


  1. I would agree that being dead would remove them from the possible senders. And I think the handwriting is the same. I enjoyed looking at all the Xmas cards.

    1. Thanks Kristin. Did you have a look at my "W" post? You inspired it.

  2. What a wonderful family archive collection to have.

    1. I have a big box full of cards. It was a great opportunity to go through them and I was very happy to find some letters written by my grandmother that I hadn't realised were in there :)

  3. I have to agree with Susan, you certainly do have an amazing collection of photos, ephemera and heirlooms. Not only that, but also you're doing a magnificent job of documenting/highlighting them and their stories through your blog. A+++

    1. Thank you Alona. I must also thank you for starting the A-Z challenge. It got me started on blogging and prompted research on people and things that I wouldn't have done otherwise. I have really enjoyed it and feel sad that we are nearing the end. I look forward to the next challenge :)

  4. GREAT sleuthing re: those Silver Leaves Sharon! Such a cute photo of the cousins Margaret & Lorna taken 1928 just as the Great Depression was beginning to hit hard here in Oz! The Battalian card from your Great Grand Uncle Lloyd is fascomating... he certainly fought in some of the most horrific battlefields in WW1. Hope he made it back home safely. Thanks for sharing, Catherine

  5. Thank you Catherine. Lloyd was one of the lucky ones and returned home and lived to age 81. My next post will concentrate on some of the unlucky ones.