Friday, February 3, 2012

Family Archives

John's father's sister died last year and a cousin has just sent him a box of family letters and pictures from Aunt Nancy's house.  It's a treasure trove --  letters from John's grandmother, father, and mother . . .
Postcards and memorabilia from a year John's grandmother and her children lived in Europe . . .
The story goes that the decision was made that they could live more cheaply over there -- the grandfather stayed in the states and worked while Olive and her children were abroad.
Lots of postcards which I'll undoubtedly be sharing in days to come . . .

There was a picture of Olive's mother -- Kathryn Florence Rakestraw. (I was absurdly delighted at the Rakestraw, having loved the name ever since first seeing a grammar school production of HMS Pinafore in which my brother played Ralph Rakestraw.)
And there was this cheery group -- the photo was taken in London -- Islington.  I believe that Olive's husband's family was from England but shall have to investigate further.
I spent the afternoon reading the letters and putting them into chronological order as best I could and came away with a real feeling of knowing John's family much better -- what his grandmother thought of her daughter-in-law, a hint of an unhappy romance in the aunt's past, my father-in-law's description of his children . . .  this is wonderful stuff!

We'll be sharing all this bounty with John's brother and sister, of course. And I'll be sharing more right here. Stay tuned! 
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22 comments:

Ms. A said...

What a treasure trove! I can't wait for more posts on this!

Martin said...

Now you've whetted my appetite. This is right up my street. Perhaps a potential Sepia Saturday here?

Julienne said...

How truly exciting for you! Enjoy your discoveries. xx

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

Your family must really appreciate the work you are doing in going through these family treasures. I'm looking forward to more about what you find.
Sam

Brian Miller said...

how very cool to have these to go through...def a lot of stories and memories in there...

Suz said...

what a treasure

Vicki Lane said...

I love Sepia Saturday, Martin -- I only stopped doing it because of the time it took going through all the wonderful submissions. But maybe I'll do one.

I love doing this, Sam -- it's like solving a mystery or doing a jigsaw puzzle.

Linda@VS said...

In your comment you wrote, "...it's like solving a mystery or doing a jigsaw puzzle." That's exactly what's kept me interested and involved in tracing my family's genealogy for the past 23 years. A box like that one you got is a real treasure!

BTW, the new season of "Who Do You Think You Are?" (a must-see for genealogists) premieres on NBC tonight. Yay!

Deanna said...

What a treasure! I've yet to make it through the mounds of photos left behind by my own parents. And now I hear my grandmother on my dad's side left behind a diary that dad's yougest sister has. She promises to bring it and copies of it to our family reunion this summer. I can't wait!!!!

Looking forward to seeing and hearing more!

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

Vicki -- you certainly have received a some treasures. Look forward to future posts on the family. -- barbara

Merisi said...

How lucky for those family treasures to have found a home with you and your family! Can't wait to see more,
Merisi

Bouncin Barb said...

What a gift! How wonderful to still have those items. Can't wait to hear more Vicki.

NCmountainwoman said...

A treasure indeed. Oh, how I love looking at old photographs, even when I know none of the identities.

Barbara Rogers, Potter said...

The family members who are not all together in a particular geographical region any more can appreciate this. Our virtual connections still exist, especially when we can see these faces that reflect those of loved ones. I've got some albums that are from the 1930's, and need to convert them to digital photos sometime soon! But the people pictured are no longer around to relate to the stories. We can always make them up, can't we?

Kath said...

What a treasure!!

Darla said...

Fabulous! I bet bits of it work their way into a novel...

Vagabonde said...

How wonderful to have received these family photographs and documents. You know how much I care for old postcards – I’ll be waiting to look at them. I love the old photos you posted too – I know how happy you must have been when you received all this family memorabilia.

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Miss_Yves said...

A real treasure! Thanks for sharing .
I recognize some of the French monuments of the postacards

Katy Gilmore said...

I loved seeing your open treasure box Vicki! Specially sitting here with tiny new granddaughter asleep in my arms! I must get organized for her~

Rob From Amersfoort said...

That last photo is very nice!

Tipper said...

Treasure trove is somehow an understatement for that priceless box of goodies : )