Valentine’s Day: Send in Your Ancestors’ Love Letters to Win!

Valentine’s Day: Send in Your Ancestors’ Love Letters to Win!

Modern-day Valentine’s Day traditions are largely attributed to the legend of Bishop Valentin of Terni. He is believed to have helped marry some forbidden lovers, such as soldiers who had to remain unmarried, according to imperial orders. As legend has it, he would give the newly married couples flowers from his garden.

Today, in addition to flowers, many loved ones receive heartfelt messages of love in letters or cards.

The oldest surviving Valentine’s Day card is a 15th-century card written by Charles, the Duke of Orléans in 1415 when he was 21. He was being held in captivity in the Tower of London after the Battle of Agincourt. The message itself was actually a poem of a few lines, which read:

„Je suis desja d’amour tanné,
Ma tres doulce Valentinée,“

„I am already sick of love,
My very gentle Valentine,“

The oldest known English Valentines letter was written by Margery Brews to her fiancé John Paston in February 1477. In the romantic letter, Margery refers to John as her “right well-beloved Valentine.” She also tells him she is “not in good health of body nor of heart, nor shall I be till I hear from you.”

These are just two very short excerpts of love letters written by lovers from a different era. Despite the vast distances and obstacles that kept the couples apart — they were greatly in love, and they didn’t waste any opportunity to let each other know!


Do you have any of your ancestors’ love letters? Perhaps someone in your family has stashed away somewhere the treasured love letters of your ancestors. Many moving love stories may be just waiting to be uncovered.

Valentine's Day Love Letter Competition

This Valentine’s Day, we want to follow love throughout history and showcase the love letters from previous generations. If you have any letters, postcards, poems or romantic notes that your ancestors sent or received, send them to us, along with the story behind them.

We’ll publish the most romantic love letters in time for Valentine’s Day and choose the best story to win a MyHeritage DNA Kit.

To enter, send us the most beautiful love letter of your ancestors to by February 13, 2019.

We look forward to seeing your love letters!


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  • Pamela Whitaker

    February 11, 2019

    When will the winners be published and where can we find them?

    • E


      February 12, 2019

      Hi Pamela,
      We’ll be posting the winners on our blog within the next week, so stay tuned!
      Best, Esther / MyHeritage Team

  • Lm

    February 14, 2019

    Unfortunately I was unsuccessful to find any of the 5 records I searched for.

  • Sharon Hoff Ary

    February 15, 2019

    Thank you