Archive for February 15th, 2010
Sherry Stocking Kline
first published in Wichita Eagle’s “Active Life” magazine – February 2005
This Valentine’s Day after you stuff, lick, and stamp your Valentine’s cards and drop them in the mail, don’t forget to rummage through your drawers, boxes, and attics for those old Valentines you’ve saved.
If you are a packrat (or lucky enough to have a packrat ancestor) you may find several old Valentine’s with hidden clues to your family’s history.
Old Valentine’s may contain clues…
One of Virginia Downing’s favorite genealogy classes to teach is Valentine and old letter research.
According to Downing, Education Chairman for Wichita Genealogical Society,old Valentine’s may contain clues to births, deaths, marriages, and more.
“You can find addresses of where people lived,” said Downing, “and dates on the envelopes.”
Downing bought a collection of postcards at an antique shop and said she was able to connect the dots between several members of a family even though she did not personally know them. Downing read the postcards, checked addresses of senders and recipients and paid particular attention to the notes written inside and the way the cards were signed.
Checking addresses may yield surprising results…
Knowing where your ancestor lived at a given time allows you to do further research in area newspapers, libraries, and other town records, so checking those addresses may yield important clues for further research.
According to Ancestry.com, return addresses that don’t match the postmark location may mean the town was too small to have its own post office or your ancestor may have been on vacation or visiting relatives.
Besides learning the location of family residences, Downing said the notes or letters included often contain clues about family relationships, occupations, and daily life. “A lot of times they may sign the card “‘Aunt Vita’ or ‘your cousin,’” Downing said. “If Aunt Vita mentions in the letter that ‘Uncle John is out feeding the cattle’ you have clues to the family’s occupation as well.”
Downing said some collectors can tell the date of a Valentine without seeing a postmark. “Some people can look and say that was an early 1900 or that was a 1930’s Valentine.” Downing said, adding that if you aren’t one of those people a little research at your library may help you narrow down the dates.
Take one more trip through your keepsake boxes…
According to Ancestry Daily News, even though you may think you have all the family information out of your own cards, one more trip through those keepsake boxes may reveal facts you forgot, photographs you missed, and memories worth preserving for future generations.
The popularity of e-mail may mean your descendants won’t have as many letters to find when they go searching through your old boxes and files according to Ancestry Daily News, so after you check out those old Valentines, be sure and save them for your genealogist descendants to find.
Sherry Stocking Kline
February 15, 2010
Was it the photograph of new-found cousin Nancy and my husband looking over the Glasgow, KY cemetery? Or was it the photo of my brother Gary with his street rod? In the end, I chose the photograph of my Great-grandma Margaret “Maggie” Corson McGinnis holding little baby me on her 100th birthday.
Not everyone has a great-grandmother who lives to be 100, so this is a special photograph, and I’m glad my parents captured the moment on film.
Best Screen Play – I’m not sure that any of my stories would make a great screen play – unless it would be the part of the Christmas Gifts story that involves myself and my two oldest nephews playing Cowboys and Indians in the pasture on our stick horses! Even my patient collie dog Lassie wasn’t safe if we had a lasso!
I’d have to cast John Wayne as my dad. First, I always thought there was a resemblance, and second, my dad had that same kind of confidence that the Duke projected on film.
My mom, well, she might be a cross of Maureen O’Hara and the Beav’s mom, June Cleaver, though she never wore dresses, pearls, and heels everyday, those were church clothes.
Because she worked in the field she was more likely to be in jeans, flannel shirts, and maybe even overalls.
And the casting for my nephews and I, well, lets just say “The Little Rascals” would be the best cast for us…
Best Documentary – My blog post about the Burchfiel Cemetery, the church and the church history connected with it holds a special place in my heart.
Best Biography – This post about my brother, Gary “Sox” Stocking is probably my favorite biography. It doesn’t tell when he was born, nor whom he was born to, but it does capture just a bit of the essence of who he was, what kind of man he was, and you get an idea of why other street rodder friends came from three states in their street rods to honor him one last time.
Best Comedy – The funniest thing that I blogged about in 2009 was when we crazy high school kids used to drag main singing the top hit at the time “Hey There Little Red Riding Hood” at the top of our lungs!
It was fun then, and it gives me a chuckle now to remember it…