120-Year-Old Dear Santa Letter Uncovered

Children have been writing Dear Santa letters for hundreds of years, adding to the sense of magic and hope that comes with the holiday season. Just recently, found hidden inside a book donated to a charity shop, was a 120-year-old letter written by a little girl to Santa Claus!

The Letter

In the letter, dated December 2, 1898, a five-year-old Marjorie from Eastbourne, England wrote to Santa asking for toy ducks and chickens, a canvas stocking, and a piece of ribbon and a ball for her cat, Kittykins.

Historical Context

The MyHeritage Research team set to the task of revealing more of Marjorie’s story. They dug into the vast treasure trove of historical records in MyHeritage SuperSearch™ armed with only a first name, Marjorie, and an address, 83 Enys Road, which was written at the top of the letter.

They searched multiple UK census records, approximating Marjorie’s age. They located a family living at that exact address in the 1901 England & Wales Census, with a daughter named Margaret!

Dear Santa

1901 England & Wales Census

From there, it was determined that Marjorie was born in Hindley, Lancashire on September 1, 1893. Sadly, her father, William Tipping Pennington, died on November 4, 1893, making her mom Annie a widow. In the census record, you can see that Annie is listed as ‘living on her own means.’

Times were probably tough for Marjorie and her widowed mother, and this is reflected in her requests to Santa that year.

What became of that innocent 5-year-old Marjorie? From our research, her mother died in 1917. One year later, in 1918, Marjorie married Guy Collingwood, who was born in Calcutta, India. Guy was an officer (2nd lieutenant) in the British army. Marjorie died in June 1965, but her descendants live on. Marjorie’s son, Trevor had a son named John who was born in 1959 in Ashford, Kent, England. They have 2 of their own sons.

We wonder what their family will be asking Santa for, this year!

Check our which presents children were asking Santa for a century ago compared to today’s most popular gifts:

Dear Santa: Then and now