Monday, March 7, 2016

"What Do You Do With A Shoebox Full Of Letters?"

If we're lucky, we all have them: a box or folder of old letters. Musty, fragile, irreplaceable, old letters. And we wonder: whatever do we DO with them...... to share them? To preserve them?

Author Bill Leslie in his article of this same name (YourGenealogy Today Magazine, Jan-Feb 2016) offers some advice:

Never separate the envelopes, nor the stamps, from the letter....and all the clues that those things can furnish.

Study the letters in chronological order; see migration patterns.

Pay attention to the stationery; monogrammed? notebook? back of something else? 

What instrument was used to write the letter?

But what to DO with these old letters?

Pull key moments from them and include them on a family calendar. 

Consider copying a verse or prayer from them into your Christmas letter.

Quote sentences from them to explain photographs.

Author Bill Leslie ends his article with this:  "Above all, and always, make copies, and share!"

I enjoyed this article, and it gave me new insights, because I'd always thought in terms of preservation when it came to thinking about old letters. Bill Leslie's down to earth advice is a totally different tack but most welcome to me!   

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Our Ancestors As Ghosts?

This book was a great read. The author writes about her Staab family who emigrated from Germany straight to New Mexico. In the course of telling the story, she says this....... and it piqued my interest big time. I wonder? Do you? 

“Ghosts?  Imagine a “timeslip” in which the present grazes against 

the past. Imagine two clothes lines in a row…. Most of the time the 

sheets hang down and are still, but maybe there’s a metaphorical 

breeze, a brushing between the sheets…. When the sheets touch 

people who don’t live in the same era see each other as 

ghosts….strangers in period dress. You peer briefly into their life 

and they peer into yours.”