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

Friday, 1 May 2020

Your Ancestors' Letters: Tips for Research (4): Why was this letter written at all ?


What was the main purpose of your ancestor's letter? What were its secondary purposes?

Is your family missive primarily a conveyer of news, or a letter of condolence, love, rejection, recommendation, thanks, congratulation, consolation or commiseration. Each of these kinds of letters had its own special characteristics and in the Victorian period, there were published books advising people how to set about writing letters of each kind. Letters also rarely served one purpose only, so look out for the moments where the purpose of the letter changes.
It is always very helpful when examining a letter from the past to read it out loud - especially if the purpose isn't immediately obvious.

Tracing Your Ancestors Through Letters and Personal Writings



Image: Woman reading a Worrisome Letter from her Husband, Once a Week, 1863, by George Swain via 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