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May 2016 Newsletter

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Grammie Shooting Critters from the Bathroom Window?

I have been transcribing and digitizing old family letters that have been passed down in the family. My goal is to preserve them online.

You can learn the funniest things in old family letters.

I have never pictured my grandmother “shooting at a woodchuck out the bathroom window.”

Source: personal correspondence, 8 June 1956 – Laconia, New Hampshire, in possession of the author

And apparently she was a good shot. “I thought I only startled him but the other night when the boys were getting out some lumber I saw him lying still near Anna’s house.”

What are you doing with your old family letters? How are you preserving them? Digitizing and putting them online? Transcribing them?

Here is an example of what one genealogist is doing.

Lee Drew is digitizing, transcribing and putting the letters of his relatives online.

Click here and see an example.

Source: FamilySearch – family letters transcribed & uploaded by Lee Drew

Lee Drew has done a meticulous job of digitizing each page, transcribing the text along the left hand column and, when helpful, he is annotating the page – giving the reader more details on the persons, places and events mentioned so that the reader can more easily understand the context of the letter.

Source: FamilySearch – family letters transcribed & uploaded by Lee Drew

Notice that Lee Drew has not only provided the scan of each page of the letter but also a digital copy of the envelope, showing the date and place when the letter was mailed and the recipient’s name and address – essential information for your family history.

He has posted hundreds of his family’s letters online making them easily available for his extended family and posterity to enjoy. This is so well done – it is the gold standard example that each of us should follow.

What are you doing to preserve the records passed down in your family?