Question of the Week: Have you found any love letters or personal correspondence in your research?

+21 votes

Let's get those romantic vibes going for Valentine's Day and share the stories of love birds we've found in our tree. :-)

asked in The Tree House by Julie Ricketts G2G6 Pilot (257k points)
retagged by Abby Glann
I came into possession of the letters my father wrote to his mother when he was a prisoner of war at Hong Kong during WW2. A valued family possession that shall be passed on to the next generation.
My father had a cake tin full of correspondence sent to him while he served overseas, Most of them were from our mother and started with My dearest "Red", Others were from Mum's brothers and brother-in-law, as well as a set of letters from the primary school he attended and from his mother.

28 Answers

+17 votes
I have. We even transcribed the letters my granddad wrote my grandma during WWII. He wrote her every third day. When the letters stopped she already suspected something isn't ok before the official letter came that my granddad died.
answered by Jelena Eckstädt G2G6 Mach 7 (73.7k points)
That's heartbreaking, Jelena. I'm glad you have the letters to remember him by.
+20 votes

Not a letter, but a little "cartoon" by my mother. It's survived since 1943, when my parents met during WWII.

Click here if you need to see it bigger


answered by Anne B G2G6 Pilot (982k points)
That is adorable, Anne!!
Aww, so cute!!
It's a blessing to have it!!
+19 votes

I found a box full of love letters written to my great aunt (dad's sister) by her future husband, He also drew a picture of her:

Ida Vallerie Image 3

answered by Doug Lockwood G2G Astronaut (2.3m points)
Wow, Doug! That's beautiful!
I like that
Haven't found any of my own, but would love a find like yours!!!
What a treasure.
+10 votes
They are more "chatty" then love letters, but  I have letters and postcards from my (maternal) grandfather to my grandmother (and vice versa) before they married (they were engaged for more than 10 years).  Some of them are long and heartfelt.  Others are postcards with things like."I have tomorrow afternoon off.  I will meet you under the clock at Victoria station at quarter past two".

I also have a letter from my great grandfather to my great grandmother (her parents) before they married.  Again, more chatty than love letter, but an interesting insight into the lives of agricultural workers (he was a shepherd then) in the mid 1800s
answered by Janet Gunn G2G6 Mach 5 (58.9k points)
"I have tomorrow afternoon off.  I will meet you under the clock at Victoria station at quarter past two"   That's very romantic
Not "love letters" in the Valentines day sense, but I have what are probably the first and last letters from my (other) grandfather, Jack, to my father.  The first was sent  when my father was sent to boarding school (at age 5), and was having trouble adjusting. The last was a few weeks before Jack died (heart failure), but says he is feeling better and hoping to go to Paris in a few months.

According to Constance (Jack's second wife), Jack, who was quite reserved, worried that my father didn't know how much Jack loved him.  But it comes through quite clearly in the letters.
+9 votes

I have found no love letters from my direct ancestors but my 5th cousin, Sarah Helen Whitman wrote this Valentine poem to Edgar Allan Poe.


"Midst the roaring of machinery,

And the dismal shriek of steam,

While each popinjay and parrot,

Makes the golden age his theme,

Oft, methinks, I hear thee croaking,

"All is but an idle dream."

While these warbling "guests of summer"

Prate of "Progress" evermore,

And, by dint of iron foundries,

Would this golden age restore,

Still, methinks, I hear thee croaking,

Hoarsely croaking, "Nevermore."



answered by James Stratman G2G6 Mach 6 (60.3k points)
Wow, that is totally cool!!  Thanks for sharing!
+10 votes
Some years ago I wrote to solicitors who used to act for the family asking if they had any information about the family. They replied saying they hadn't but had a letter written by my ggf to his then fiancee in 1843, which they enclosed. I've never had such large goosebumps!
answered by Graham Irwin G2G6 (7.3k points)
I was very lucky to get all the letters my grandfather has send from USA later Hong Kong from 1892 to his dead there was many and it was a treat to read his mail.
+4 votes
Funny thing about that!  Just was contacted yesterday by another WikiTreer in my Greeter capacity asking if my Lesure ancestor (my husband's Grandmother) was a Dart because his Grandfather wrote in his journal about the daughter at the hunting camp in the Adirondacks and their possible elopement!!  Way cool.  I will have to tell my new friend that I just posted here about this so he can comment.  He sent me copies of the journal so I can read it.  Emma Dart Lesure wrote a great deal as well and wrote a short story called "The Innkeeper's Daughter" and I feel compelled to read it again to see if there are any hints of this other beau!  Report at 11!  So neat, really!!
answered by Cindy Lesure G2G6 Mach 7 (77.6k points)
My Grandfather had written about his summer working at Camp Dart and the people at the camp. He wrote a diary, of sorts, in chapter form. A chapter not started he called 'The Elopement'. Was he plotting or hoping to elope with Emma Dart with whom he seemed to become fond of or did they actually elope and subsequently split? Each went on to marry others. The mystery is unsolved but now more fun than ever anticipating what might be in 'The Innkeeper's Daughter" story!

Great to connect with you Cindy, and your sister-in-law Nancy a few years ago. Then it was purely the power of Google to find the present day connection to this time 100 years ago.
+6 votes

I have the letters my mom and dad wrote back and forth from March through September 1954 while they got to know each other. Mom was in North Carolina & Florida and Dad was stationed at the AirForce base in Denver, Colorado. They only met in real life three days before they were married on 3 September 1954.


In addition, I have the letters that my mom wrote to her mother, both as a new bride and ongoing as an Air Force wife. We didn't know until after my grandmother's death that she had kept them. The stack covers almost 30 years. They are poignant in so many ways. My sister and I take them out occasionally and read them to each other. If I ever finish my GEDCOM cleanup, one of my projects is to glean the genealogical clues from the letters.

answered by Debi Hoag G2G6 Pilot (198k points)
+4 votes
I found my dad’s love letters describing himself missing his loved one and describing and explaining his adventures while in the military...One letter described dad going to nyc ,seeing “cab callaway “at a night club ..another letter seeing a new singer called” Mel Torme”. He wrote in his letters of when he got out of the military He and his future wife were going to buy a farm house in Maine .
answered by Dawn Nott G2G1 (1.1k points)
+5 votes

In 1848, my great great grandfather Phineas Colman was sending love letters to his wife Ilone Lamphere.  They had been secretly married and not able to be together during that time.  Tidbit from the first letter: By the 3rd letter, he tells of people finding out about their marriage.  It can only be assumed at this point, due to the big break in letters, that they were finally able to be together, plus the fact that their son Harlan was born in December 1849.  Times were hard and earning a living was difficult.  Early in 1852, Phineas decided to seek his fortunes in the California gold fields.  He left his wife and 2 year old son to head west to search for gold.  He sent many letters home that tell of the love he had for them and his and family.  Unfortunately he died enroute somewhere on the Santa Fe trail.  His last letter, which was unfinished, was returned to his wife Ilona.  This letter indicated how ill he was and seemed he was saying his final farewells.  Great great Grandmother Ilona kept those letters.  My father had them in his possession for many years and after his death, my sister inherited them.  I am thankful to have copies of those letters. 

answered by Marilyn Boyles G2G Crew (600 points)
+4 votes
I have the letters from mom and dad to each other before they married. They really demonstrate their love they had for each other.
answered by Phillip Jares G2G6 (9.3k points)
+4 votes
I have come into possession of Hough family letters written in the late 1700's  Beautifully written Quaker letters yet brittle with age, holes, and sealing wax, love letters are included.  A few are about the torment of seeking love.  Others talk of illness, information on family relations, and daily life.  Often sent from outside the state via horseback courier these writings are from Quakers writing to and from Pennsylvania.  I have scanned them into digital format.  If you would like to review them for free, contact me
answered by Paul Porter G2G Crew (510 points)
+4 votes
I found the love letters that my Great Great Grandfather George Washington Mullis wrote to his future wife Rachel Caroline Hemrick during the Civil War.  I incorporated them into his profile [[Mullis-23|George Washington Mullis]].  He says that the smell of her fresh baked bread keeps his love alive and longs to return home.
answered by G. Moore G2G6 Mach 3 (33.5k points)
+3 votes
I have my grandparents courtship on postcards. During a trip to California he sometimes wrote her more than one card a day. The correspondence continued after he returned from his trip. His job required him to travel to nearby small towns for a week or two at a time and he wrote her several postcards each week.
answered by Ronda Bauman G2G Crew (770 points)
+3 votes


This isn't a love letter. It is the "Countdown" my Dad kept, prior to his wedding date in 1952.

answered by Susan Hughes G2G6 (9.7k points)
+3 votes
After my 96-year-old father passed away this last summer, an unexpected love letter was found among his important papers. It was from his first wife, the mother of his elder children, with whom he had been married more than twenty years (I and my younger siblings are from the second marriage).

Though the first wife was remarkably kind to us and nothing negative was ever said about her (my own mother even spoke well of her), we just always assumed she and my father must have hated each other. So, what an uplifting surprise it was to discover the profoundly loving letter she wrote my father about two years after they divorced.

She apologized for the hurt their divorce had caused and insisted he was not to blame. He had been a nearly perfect husband, she said, in all the years they were married, with maybe only one failing --that he had been too tolerant.
answered by Martyn Mulford G2G6 Mach 2 (22k points)
+4 votes
I have not found the love letters, but my grandfather wrote in his autobiography about falling in love with my grandmother, and how they wrote love letters for a year or so. I re-typed the story and posted it on the G2G 52 Ancestors challenge:

(The story is above where this puts you in the answers)
answered by Alison Gardner G2G6 Mach 2 (27.5k points)
+3 votes
I found the first letters my parents wrote to each other, they are amazingly formal for 2 young people getting to know each other.
I also found my Gt. Grandfather's diary which gives a lot of info. about life in a schoolhouse in the late 19th & early 20th centuries.
answered by Christine Frost G2G6 Mach 2 (22.6k points)
+3 votes
When my aunt and uncle retired and were moving to a warmer climate, I found a box of things they had stored that had belonged to my grandma.  When I went through the stuff in the box, I found a bunch of love letters that my grandpa had written to my grandma when he was working in another part of the state. They were newlyweds at the time and you can tell he really missed her.
answered by Deborah Mayes G2G4 (4.8k points)
+4 votes
During WWII, a demure young Marie Peters wrote a lone ranger letter to a brave young soldier, Carlyle Spreeman. He received the letter a few days before his capture in the Hurtigen Forest on November 3, just before the Battle of the Bulge. He read the letter and put it in the breast pocket of his coat. During the few days before his capture, the troops were in a skirmish and the commanding officer was but shot. Carlyle carried the officer from the battlefield, fireman style over his shoulders to the medics, where he left the coat with the officer.

Carlyle received a bronze star for carrying the officer off the battlefield.

I don't have the letter, but it was returned to Marie and Carlyle. He carried it in his wallet for many years and it wore out.
answered by Bev Spreeman G2G6 (9.3k points)

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