Hopes and Dreams – In Their Own Words 12

GeneaChat: Hopes and Dreams - In Their Own Words

The beginning of a new year is the traditional time to make plans and goals for the future. We think about our lives and what we want to change and improve.

Our ancestors most likely did the same. Where can we find what their thoughts and feelings were? If we are lucky, we have letters, cards or journals that may tell us their hopes and dreams.

This month let’s share what things we have found written in their own words. What did their writing tell you about their personality, wishes and struggles? Are they like yours?

Here are some of the items that have helped me discover what was on the mind of those in my family tree.

“Old Pete and Francis” is the transcription of a letter my great grandmother wrote to two of my grandmother’s sisters. It’s a fun letter full of personality! Nicknames, crushes and plans for upcoming events show the relationship between mother and daughters.

“Letters from Mattie” is a series of transcribed letters written by my maternal great great grandmother to her children. Mattie wrote many of her thoughts and feelings about family members, visits and day to day life. She didn’t leave a journal, but these letters are a priceless substitute for a few years of her life. (Part one links to the others.)

Inside a family Bible were letters from my great great grandfather to his daughter, my great grandmother. These were transcribed and shared in three posts in “Letters from the Past”. From then I learned of his love for his daughter and sad events in his life leading him to poverty. His desire to be able to help his children and not being able to do so is felt in his words.

In “Plowing Through” I share pages from my great great grandfather’s farm journal pages from 1899. In it he describes his work for the day, the weather, those who worked for him.

How wonderful to be able to read about their life’s experiences, hopes, dreams and plans for the future in their own words!
Now it’s your turn! Have you found journals, letters, notes or anything else that helps you understand your ancestor’s better? Have you learned anything about what life was like for them or discovered their hopes and dreams for the future? We would love for you to share!

You can participate in this month’s GeneaChat by sharing a blog post or leaving a comment about these discoveries. Remember that links to your posts and the comments you leave will be part of the recap at the end of the month.

Looking forward to reading what y’all have to say!

Thanks for GeneaChatting!


Cheri Hudson Passey

About Cheri Hudson Passey

Cheri Hudson Passey is a Professional Genealogist, Instructor, Writer and Speaker. She is the owner of Carolina Girl Genealogy, LLC which provides research services as well as instruction and coaching though her Genealogy 1-on-1 classes. Born in South Carolina, Cheri has roots in the state for many generations. Her blog Carolina Girl Genealogy has helped tell the story of these ancestors and her research process. You can contact Cheri by email Cheri@carolinagirlgenealogy.com or by visiting her blog Carolina Girl Genealogy. Cheri Hudson Passey writes the Modus Operandi column for Going In-Depth Magazine.

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12 thoughts on “Hopes and Dreams – In Their Own Words

  • Liz Gauffreau

    I remember growing up in the 1960s that my mother and her mother exchanged weekly letters, my grandmother’s on her signature blue stationary written with a fountain pen. It seems so quaint now.

    • Cheri Hudson Passey
      Cheri Hudson Passey Post author

      Glad you were inspired! Make sure you come back and post the link once you’ve written your post so I can add it to the recap! Happy writing!

  • Jim

    This is a really nice collection to bring these letters together.
    My father and his four sisters had a round-robin “Family Letter” that arrived every so often with 4 to read, your own previous one to remove for filing or more likely to be thrown out, and the obligation to reply with something new while picking up on news in the others. This non-electronic message board was a feature of the 1970s …
    Of course, I never had a moment of interest and have no idea what the letters were about, and doubt ANY of them have survived.

    • Cheri Hudson Passey
      Cheri Hudson Passey Post author

      My husband’ s family did the same thing with family letters! That gets me wondering what happened to them. Maybe we will both be able to locate some, They would be a great source of family history/!
      Thanks so much for your comment. It will be included in the recap.

  • Cathy Meder-Dempsey

    I haven’t found letters or journals written by my ancestors. But I’ve saved many letters I’ve received over the years from friends and family. Someday I will re-read them and hope to find things I’ve forgotten about.

    • Cheri Hudson Passey
      Cheri Hudson Passey Post author

      Those letters are just as important. I have letters and notes written by my friends from high school. They are a hoot to read! So glad the silliness of my youth are written on paper and not plastered all over social media! lol! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment. It will be added to the recap!

  • Laura Hedgecock

    In her “Treasure Chest of Memories,” my grandmother, who had never left the state of Virginia, wrote that she hoped that her children would one day see New York City. Many years later, Mom and I reflected on that as we looked out at the city of Paris sprawled out beneath the Eiffel tower. Mom and Dad both had the travel bug and had honey-mooned in NYC. By the time they died (while traveling) at age 67, Mom had surpassed Grandma’s dream by visiting cities in over 30 different countries, visiting Northern Africa, the then-East Block, Australia and New Zealand, and countless places in Western Europe. It’s so special to know my Mom dreamed the same dreams her mother dreamed for her.

    This is a great post — I’ll probably blog about it as well.

  • Diane Anderson

    My paternal grandparents kept a farm journal that I will have to write a blog post about sometime. We had moved, and a lot of that is still packed.
    Back when I was 10, I was paired with a pen pal through “Tiger Beat” magazine. We wrote to each other until college (late 1980’s), and then lost track of each other until 2011. We had never met. I decided to look her up on FB, found her, and finally met herfor 1st time in 2012. Now, we (and our husbands, too) vacation together whenever possible. BTW, I had kept mt letters, and shared them with her when we met!


  • Diane Anderson

    My paternal grandparents kept farm journals that I now have. They are still in a box after a recent move. So, a post about them will have to wait a while!
    As for myself, I had become pen pals with someone through Tiger Beat magazine when I was 10 yrs. old. We wrote until college, and then lost track of each other. Found her on FB in 2011. Finally met her in 2012, and was able to show her all of her old letters that she had sent me years ago! Glad that I had saved them!