Write about your family, describe your house, garden, hobbies, work, community, the economy, your beliefs, feelings, views or anything else that comes to mind. Make it clear to the recipient that the letter is to be retained with important papers and NEVER destroyed.
Or maybe you would prefer to imagine that you are writing to a descendant, who will read the letter in 100 years time. Tell them about your family and life now. What do you think they would like to know about in 100 years time?
You may not think the contents of your letter are interesting now, but in 100 years time your descendants will think it is GOLD.
Unfortunately there wont be many letters around in 100 years time, with email now being the preferred method of communication. We are losing a valuable family history resource. In addition to the contents of the letter, the handwriting also offers an insight into the writer.
Our family were prolific letter writers, who thankfully retained letters, so I have copies of letters from many different sources. Additionally, my grandmother and I wrote to each other regularly. In most letters, I would ask my grandmother a question or two about family history and memories. I kept all her replies, which have contained very valuable information, not available elsewhere.
I love all the letters that I have but there is one that is very special (the first page is pictured above and transcribed below). I was visiting my cousin and looking through the family bible and came across several letters that had been stored in the bible for over 100 years. No one (alive) knew that they were there! You can imagine my emotion as I read the letter and realised that my Great Great Grandmother was writing to tell family about the death of my Great Great Grandfather in 1892. It seems that the letter was addressed to family in Scotland but never mailed, instead being placed in the family bible.
"I take my pen in hand to write these few lines to you with a heart full of sadness for I have lost your Brother and my all. Oh my Dear sisters you might think like I used to, that I could feel what others feel when they were separated but I could not tell you the blank that falls one’s life for we lived a very happy life together and the blow came very hard to bear.My Dear Sisters, my poor husband has been failing for the past eight months but he did not think he was bad enough to get a doctor’s advice but I took it upon myself to get the doctor up to him for he said “I can eat and drink well and at my time in life it is better to be thin than fat”, but I did not feel satisfied but the doctor could do nothing for it. Was the miner’s chronic bronchitis and Pleurisy that was the matter with him. The doctor gave me no hope of him ever being strong again but that he might live for years or go any time but that he would never work again but the pain was very severe from Wednesday till Friday and he told me that it was all over with him but I tried to do as the doctor told me, to keep his spirits up. You will know how hard it was for me. He took everything I gave him and I thought he was going to rally but the cough was gone and I heard him ask the doctor to give him something to ease the cough and he told him that it would be worse for him so I sent for the doctor again and he told him there was no hope for him. He told him that he knew from the first but told my mother and them to keep it from me. He said when my mother asked him if he knew who to look to for strength, he said yes mother but don’t let Polly know.If it was not for the happiness of knowing that he went home safely and that he went so quiet as a child. I was with him to the last and he knew us all dear sister and the last drink my mother gave him, she asked him “Do you know me Dan?” and he nodded his head and that was a couple of seconds before his last. He died on the 11 June just at twelve O’clock. I send you this so that you will see that I am trying to be the same as when he was here, for he used to say write the same as when I am here. He did not like writing. When we got our likeness taken he said they will see that we are both failing. I wanted him to write but he was waiting till he heard from you, but we will have to leave the all wise maker will be done. We will never see each other, but we can help each to bare the trials and bye & bye meet each other on the other side.
Dear Sisters I have 7 children now. The last two are boys, baby is 6 months. I have to struggles to keep them as we have had no crops for some time. I think I will draw to a close with love to you all from us all. I remain your loving sister. M A Scott "
To finish, a big Thank You to Wendy at Jollett Etc whose comment on a prior Post inspired this topic.
|Click for more posts|