20    Dec 20156 comments

Family Mysteries: Revealed through holiday cards and letters

This is a guest post by genealogist James L. Tanner, a retired trial attorney from Arizona now living in Utah. He is the author of two popular genealogy blogs, Genealogy's Star and Rejoice, and be exceeding glad. With over 30 years of genealogy experience, he currently volunteers at the Brigham Young University Family History Library in Provo, Utah.

Many countries around the world have a tradition of sending greeting cards to friends and relatives during the holiday seasons. In the United States, there is also a strong tradition of sending family letters at the end of the year reviewing important events. In the last 100 years or so, these holiday cards and letters  have also contained photos and valuable information about family members. Sometimes the information contained in a card or on a photo may be priceless and could resolve long-standing family mysteries. A card from a distant relative may identify someone whose relationship you never knew about or even suspected.

"Burns Mont. Ayr Postcard 1899" (Credit: Tony Corsini at en.wikipedia. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons)

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18    Dec 201519 comments

10 Spectacular Vintage Holiday Cards

We recently put out a call for your oldest Christmas cards. We received many amazing cards from years gone by.

Here are some beautiful and rare cards, never seen before:

c1905. Sent to us by Barbara Becker. "Christmas post card 2 would have been given to my grandmother when she lived in Edinburgh, Scotland (1904-1909). Teanie was a nickname my mother told me my grandmother did not particularly like. This card appears to have been hand delivered."

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15    Feb 20130 comments

Valentine’s Day: 1 billion cards

A card by Esther Rowland Courtesy Mount Holyoke College

How many valentines did you receive this year? How many did you send?

Some 190 million valentines are sent each year, according to the US Greeting Card Association. If you count the cards made by schoolchildren, it goes up to 1 billion. And, in 2010, some 15 million e-valentines were sent!

The American tradition of sending valentines was the idea of Esther Rowland (1828-1904), a young graduate of Mount Holyoke College (Massachusetts).

Holyoke's archives and special collections has an impressive collection of historic valentines, many created by Esther. She is credited with having established the commercial valentine industry in the US.

The school’s original name was the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, and Esther graduated in 1847. She was inspired by an ornate English valentine - sent by a family friend – to create her elaborate versions of the greeting card.

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