Wednesday, May 11, 2016
While down on the farm hunting morels, my mom gave me a sack full of family history stuff. Neither of us really have a good place for it other than to put them on a shelf somewhere but she knew that I would enjoy looking through them and perhaps more importantly, would scan the stuff into the computer where it can be backed up and and preserved. Among the items were originals of pictures I have posted in prior blog posts as well as a stack of letters I had never seen before.
My great uncle whom passed away several years ago was a World War II Navy vet. I've blogged about him a number of times over the years, the last being a year and a half ago when I had some records he made during the war digitally restored. He was a prolific writer during his lifetime and also a hoarder which is why it really wasn't a surprise that he saved most if not all the letters written to him while he served during World War II.
About a half dozen of the saved letters were from his wife which I haven't read yet. She is kind of a mystery to me since she died young after only six years of marriage and a couple decades before I was even born. Even my grandparents (his brother) or my parents (his niece) know little about her. Since I hope reading those letters will reveal much about her other than her name that I know, I am saving those for last.
Before them, are a large stack of letters from my great great grandmother Nettie to her grandson (my great uncle) during his years in the war. One at a time, I scan them into my computer, save them and then read them before moving onto the next. Not being familiar with how these letters and envelopes work, I wasn't sure why the letters were so tiny and appeared to be copies of originals written on a larger (normal) scale. When I googled them, Wikipedia told me the reason. In order to save weight and processing, all V-mail letters were scanned onto microfilm after being censored and then shipped overseas still as film to reduce space. Once at their destination, they were blown up only to 60% (perhaps to save paper) which made it very hard to read without a magnifying glass which is why I waited until I got them scanned in and scaled up to make for easier reading.
I really enjoy reading about my great great grandparents daily lives which is mostly what they wrote about. I have to spend time here and there to see just exactly who Cousin Bob is or how Willie who caught scarlet fever is related. It really fleshes out a story up until this time I only knew the bare bones. Although I'm looking forward to getting to the letters of my great uncle's wife, I'm not looking forward to not having anymore letters left in my pile to scan into the computer and read.