Diving in Again
After a hiatus of almost 2 years, I am returning to the family history task that I began in October 2017. In the 10 posts on this blog completed at that time, my focus was on on my maternal grandmother and the years from about 1900 to 1970. I finally have the will and stamina to return to the 1800’s and the letters!
A post I did in October 2017 gives a background on the letters I have: Post title: Just Do It! or Cornucopia or Curse
“As the keeper of original family letters, photographs, artifacts and oral history that go back to the 1850’s, I feel a deep responsibility to preserve and share this precious material with others. I have both treasured and felt intimidated by the legacy of more than 20 letters written by the Kaine family members from Huron County in Ontario to Aunt Bess in Ireland. She had stayed behind in Freshford County, Kilkenny as the housekeeper to a vicar and the family were eager for her to join them in Canada. Aunt Bess eventually did come and brought the letters with her. She even brought pay receipts from her employer, the Reverend Mease. Hmmm…do I detect early evidence of the pack rat tendencies that I seem to have inherited! These letters describe the everyday life of settlers in rural South Western Ontario and capture the fondness among family members. How to begin the daunting task of sharing the wealth? At the end and work back, chronologically or what?”
Progress to Date:
I have preserved the family letters in special document sleeves and have been indexing and transcribing them in chronological order. Some dreary January days were brightened for me as I worked on the letters and laughed out loud at the phrases and comments that my long distant relatives shared with each other. I also marvelled at their elegant Victorian letter writing style as I tried to decipher the spidery faded handwriting on fragile paper.
I now have a treasure trove of 24 transcribed letters (with about 10 more yet to be done) that span the years from 1852 to 1869. I have more questions than answers at this point and feel like one of the detectives that I so admire. I even have a white board set up with different coloured post it notes to keep the people organized into generations etc. As I unravel the mysteries of the past, I am also figuring out the best way to share my discoveries with my family and others. It has been an fascinating journey so far that I will chronicle in this blog. So if you have a sense of adventure, join me on this journey as I do not yet know where it will lead or what we will discover along the way. As with all good trips I know we will experience highs and lows, detours and unexpected destinations and challenges and triumphs. In the end, we should know more about some of the pioneers of Huron County and these people whose letters have intrigued me for over 50 years.
Why did they come to Montreal first? Were they in the army in Montreal? How to find family tree info in Ireland? Why did they leave Ireland? How did they come to be educated? What were their occupations in Ireland? What was life like in Ireland when they left? What was life like for the women? What was life like in Huron County ? Why did they become ministers? What should I do with the original letters? Who is interested in this information?etc. etc.