Reading old letters can be fun

In my own collection. I have about 200 letters written by my mother, father, grandfather, and an aunt.

  • Mar. 16, 2016 10:00 a.m.

Bob Maynard, genealogist Reading old letters can be fun.

In my own collection. I have about 200 letters written by my mother, father, grandfather, and an aunt.

It is amazing how soon you can decipher words and letters that you thought were unreadable when you first look at them. That letter “S” which is the beginning of a name that defeated you at the start of the reading, by the time you have been reading several pieces you will get to know what it is. Sometimes you will find pages are numbered and when the pages are full, they will write in any space, even down the margins. During both world wars, writing paper was hard to find and was expensive. Therefore space was of great value. I have several letters like this and to find which pages go where may not always be straightforward.

You should try to find out as much as possible about the people, places and events mentioned in the letter or diary. This should be the really enjoyable part and you will be involved in a good deal of detective work. When reading letters and diaries, you can get a glimpse what was going on with your ancestors like where they lived, who they visited and what was happening in their area.

Now with the age of computers, you can scan, save and compile them.

What I do is separate and put each page in a double sided acid proof shelve and then put them into a binder which keeps them safe and dry. Do not use rubber bands or paper clips as the rubber will rot and the clips will rust.

Till next time.

Bob Maynard is a local historian and genealogist, and will be writing a monthly column about the topic in The Leduc/Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer.

 

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