Monday, January 25, 2010

Madness for Monday, Genealogy and it's changes.

This is going to be an ongoing topic regarding genealogy and it's changes.

I started Genealogy when I was about 12 years old helping MOM and she had me write to my Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents and Great Grandparent.

Her idea was to keep in touch even though we were a long ways away from the family.

I wonder how many parents today have their children write to their grandparents, and relatives that live away from home. From what I hear we do not even get a "THANK YOU
NOTE" for gifts received. The art of writing may be dying.

I wish the Military had not lost my box with my old letters and address of family and friends from pre 1967. I saved the box and wrapped it special put my address book from the house in it and sealed the box handed to the packer to place in the last open box that was crated to be sent to Hawaii. Ironically, it never arrived. Just the little package so carefully selected and wrapped and addressed in case lost, just was not in that box upon opening it. Was it the new silk pillow my parents sent as a Christmas gift that lured the person not to pack the box. It may have been they were not cheap pillows. But who ever did what ever, they robbed my family of much resources and the
ability to reach some people we still have not found.

The home address of the man whom introduced me to my husband was in that address book because he had just retired from the Navy. I have hunted for them for 20+ years when I finally got a computer to see if I could find him. So far no luck. Ed "Hoot" Gibson, where are you or your family?

Fortunately, MOM had replacement addresses for the family. But the hand picked letters that my Great Grandmother Foulk Archer wrote me are gone. Early letters from my husband are gone. One of the only two letters my DAD wrote me is gone. Granddad Jones letters are no more.

Writing to people then was so much more prolific than today. People whom had phones called them a necessity and were used only on rare emergency occasions.

No wonder English teachers who try to teach children to write have so hard a time of it. I stress writing thank you notes to Grandchildren today. Just so they remember how to function with pen and paper.

So for research in the days of the past prior to 1960 was mostly writing and traveling.
Picture taking became popular in the 30's and more so in the 40's. By the 1950's even many children had the Kodak Brownie to take pictures at the school functions to record for the future.

Most of my parents pictures start from the 1940's a few from the 1930's. Grandparents were fortunate and inherited a picture book as Granddad H called it. We in the family have pictures of people that were born from about 1800 forward. No not taken then but taken around Civil War time forward. We even have dead people in casket pictures as the only picture of the person in existence.

So we traveled, wrote people, read history books, took pictures, searched Encyclopedia's & searched libraries for data in order to do research in the pre 1960's.

We visited court houses and land records offices and any other government agency that would allow us in to find clues. We visited cemeteries, churches and temples etc to learn what their faith (Religion) may have kept for records.

When you look back at what we have had you wonder what we did.


  1. This is really sad that you lost those precious letters from your family people to you. I am working on genealogy research and creating my family tree, so i could understand what you have lost. Great to know your emotions and the way you think about your parents and your next generations.

  2. I feel for you. My family saved lots of letters, photos and other documents. I am constantly amazed at the research doors that has opened for me as well as helping me to get to know those who came before me.

  3. I agree that letter writing is a lost art. How much I treasure the handwritten letters of my ancestors. I can't imagine how painful it was for you to lose those items.

  4. My gosh, every time the military packs us up for a move, I cringe when they touch my antique books, genealogy books, and family documents! What a disappointing loss for you.

    These days, I make it a point to visit people and places. Even with internet genealogy, I would rather spend whole days in the town where an ancestor lived, seeing the churches, cemeteries, libraries, and in the Town Hall.

    That is far more satisfying than any online searching.

    And, yes, I much prefer letter-writing to email too!