Essential Reading

'I have been a family historian for more than 40 years, and a professional historian for over 30, but as I read it, I was constantly encountering new ways of looking at my family history....Essential reading I would say!' Alan Crosby, WDYTYA Magazine

Monday, 4 May 2020

Your Ancestors' Letters: Tips for Research (6) Who licked the stamp?

From their first issue in 1840, postage stamps had an adhesive backs but still required wetting or licking. Today, it is theoretically possible - though expensive - to have the back of an envelope or a stamp tested for DNA. To work, the stamp or envelope would have to be carefully preserved and removed from sources of contamination. The DNA would need to checked against that of a living descendant of the putative stamp licker.


Image: Penny Black stamp - first issued in 1840. From Wikimedia Commons.

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Your Ancestors' Letters: Tips for Research (5): Why was a letter always more than a letter?


Did your ancestor leave a letter?

Tips for Research 5

What can you learn from the physical aspects of your family letter? Ask questions about its length, the type of paper upon which it was written, the existence of an envelope, the way it was sealed, its overall look and feel.

Letters were the embodiment of a significant relationship between a sender and a receiver. The overall look of a letter was thought to be an indicator of the social standing, character and personality of the person who sent it. Holding a letter - even kissing it - was fancied to be a way of getting close to the person who had last held and sealed it.

Tracing Your Ancestors Through Letters and Personal Writings





Image: Penning a Letter by George Goodwin Kilburne, 1839. From Wikimedia Commons.


 #Europeanancestors, #census, #England, #familyhistory #ancestors #ancestry #familyhistory #familyhistorybooks #genealogy #ancestryhour, #ruthasymes #ww1 #ancestors #ancestry #familyhistory #familytree #genealogy #ancestryhour #genchat #media, research services, family research, genealogists, #tracingyourancestorsthroughlettersandotherpersonalwritings # letters #epistolary #ancestorsletters #royalmail #post #ancestorswriting