26    Sep 20122 comments

Diaries: Windows to the past

Many of us have treasured items that have been passed onto us by previous generations.

Recently, Mark Rigg (Stockport, UK) was going through his attic, when he found a treasure he never knew existed.

His great-aunt, Annie Droege, was a British woman living in Germany during WWI. What Mark didn't know was that Annie had kept a diary of her experiences.

She recounts her emotions of spending the war in Germany, and having German friends fighting against her British friends and family.

At one point, Annie and her family were under siege in their own home, as a mob from the nearby village descended upon them.

Mark was excited by the discovery, and decided to publish the diary to demonstrate the hardships of life during the Great War. He dedicated the book to the 16.5 million people who lost their lives.

No other artifact or family heirloom - other than personal diaries - helps us understand the lives and emotions of the previous generations.

Have you inherited a family diary or journal? What did you learn from it?

Search for your ancestors:

Comments (2) Trackbacks (0)
  1. When I was about nine I decided to keep a diary so that in the future I could be 'discovered' and have my work published! Haha, perhaps it's unlikely but I've kept a diary on and off ever since, and I love reading historical diaries. Apparently my grandma kept diaries although my dad's side of the family seem reluctant to read them in case they find out things they don't want to know...
  2. Actually, I'm in the process of transcribing an ancestor's diary from 1895 right now (http://ancestralbreezes.blogspot.com/). Carrie Reid was my great grand aunt's sister in law, and she was a teen at the time, so the day to day of her life revolved around school, church and social activities. It's been an interesting way to learn of the family and their lifestyle, through the eyes of (about) a 17 year old girl. I'm only on February, and she wrote in the diary every day - even if only a sentence - for the entire year. I'm looking forward to seeing what's coming next for her.

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