Week 6 – #52Ancestors

How many of us now depend on social media? I have connected with other genealogists in various Facebook groups. I share information and photos on Instagram. Both of these apps also allow me to keep in contact with family members who live in other states, and even on other continents.

What about our ancestors? How did they manage to communicate or share gossip? Even though they could not do it in the instantaneous manner to which we have become accustomed, they still did it.

Newspapers used to have gossip columns, or at the very least would post tidbits about the happenings of local residents. The “Bristol Herald Courier” (Tennessee/Virginia) had a section called Town Chatter in the 1950’s. In this section I found this piece about a dinner party hosted by one of my maternal great aunts (April 12, 1950)

. There are great bits of genealogy in here: Hubert was living in Asheville; the sisters – Mrs. D.R. Rosenbalm (Lizzie), Mrs. Mack Rosenbalm (Maude), Mrs. Virgie Smith, and Clemmie Duvall were still getting together; and there are a few unknown names to research.

My ancestors were not high society, nor did they have professional careers. They were farmers, truck drivers and laborers. This is the only social blurb I have come across, and was excited when I found it.

The postal system, perhaps not quite so quick or efficient, was also used. I love these two examples from my father. The first is a birthday postcard from his mother. The second is a note from his brother, Earl, to let him know that he was leaving Virginia and traveling to Pennsylvania. Both of the original postcards are in my possession. I love that I have my grandmother’s handwriting!

Newspapers and correspondence are just two sources where we can find out a bit more about the lives of our ancestors.

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