February 9, 2013

a glimpse at love 1917 style

With Valentines Day soon upon us I couldn't miss the opportunity to share with you a few treasures of my grandparents courtship during WWI.  
I've been studying the genealogy of my family in recent months and have found many many interesting things about my family.
I dragged my cousin Heather into my little family roots search albeit willingly when she was visiting over the New Year holiday with her family. She later found these postcards  in her mother’s attic while putting away the Christmas decorations.

Heather's grandmother Frances (my godmother) is the eldest daughter of my grandparents Mary and Henri.

If you are at all interested in WWI then you might enjoy seeing these postcards just for their nostalgic or historic value.  Or you might enjoy them simply for their beauty. For me they are my history, a small glimpse of my grandparents courtship in my grandfather’s own hand preserved for almost one hundred years.

This first postcard is considered a "sweetheart postcard."

I have to say, the picture is just outstanding and the colors are amazing!

The romantic in me loves that their courtship survived despite the fact that there was a war going on. The message in the postcard isn't all that romantic. I have to guess that was more the due to the more formal social norms of the early 1900's rather than their affection for each other.Fortunately they did marry two years later and had six children five of them survived and went on to have their own families. 

I am the second born child of their eldest son Henry.

This next post card is the actual announcement that my grandfather's sent to my grandmother letting her know he had arrived back in the US back in 1919.

At the base of the Statue of Liberty it says:

Statue of Liberty on Bedloc’s Island in New York Bay, 1 ¼ miles from Battery, a colossal figure of Liberty enlightening the World. It lights the harbor with an electric torch held 306 feet above the water, the highest beacon in the world. Was presented to America by the French nation.

My grandparents rarely told stories about their native countries and they spoke of their families infrequently.They came to this country him from Canada and her from Ireland to become Americans and were grateful for that opportunity. I never did understand why they felt all the rest had to be left behind!! I've often wondered whether it was something deeper or maybe it was just too painful.
Regardless of whether my recollections are indeed accurate or a result of the limits of a child’s understanding or an adult’s imagination. What I've been uncovering in my search including these postcards is an interesting experience rather like peeking at little bits of myself.
Have you ever looked into your family history? What's your experience?

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  1. Very interesting, Jen!! I'm amazed the postcards are still around almost 100 years later!! You would think somewhere along the line they might have been "tossed" (though why I think that I have no idea, LOL, as hubby's parents kept EVERY single card/letter they ever sent to each other.

    I think it is neat to look back into one's family history. I haven't really done it; I had an aunt who did a lot of geneology stuff. I know both my mother's parents came over from Poland, they were married at the time, but I know they left family behind. Same with my dad when he came over from Poland after WW2. My sister did find some of his relatives; might have even visited some when her family visited Poland a few years back.

    all interesting info!


  2. Wonderful postcards. Are they written in pencil rather than pen and ink?

  3. So cool and fun to find this stuff. I love the "sweetheart postcard."

  4. wow neat stuff. You are blessed to still have those - I've never seen the ww1 postcards before. A real collectors find.

    1. I love them because they belong to my family. But i would think a collector would appreciate them too!

  5. So Cool.

    I LOooove those post cards. Priceless.

    WOW. Xxx

  6. What a treasure! Our family history is important. Happy Valentines Day!

  7. Awesome story---I am also very intrigued by my family history. Over the past two years I have complied my Mom's story, right from her birth. I have been working on it in earnest, but took some time off over the past few months while she was very sick.
    I am determined now to put it all together and share it with the entire family---actually hoping to have it all put together and have copies for everyone as we celebrate her birthday in August. I think it will be a fabulous way to remember and honor her.

  8. What beautiful postcards! And how wonderful to have a piece of that story to share.

  9. Hey Jen! You have treasures there. I know you know that. I haven't forgotten about searching my PEI roots for the 'French/Acadian connection we may have in common. I promise to do that ASAP!!
    You wondered why your grandparents left their respective countries....I know a lot of people saw the US as a land of opportunity and they 'bit the bullet' and took chance. A lot of my father's and mother's aunts and uncles did that and headed to Boston and beyond....and stayed.

  10. Amazing to still have those postcards. I know nothing about my grandparents, isn't it funny they never spoke about their past.I was fourteen when my gran died so old enough to have asked her things about her past but can't remember if I ever did. I hope my blog is still around somewhere for my grandchildren to know all they want to about me and as I talk a lot I will probably bore them silly with my stories too.


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