How to use letter as a source

+4 votes
I have a copy letter from a son of an ancestor.  There are lots of descendents so lots of us have this letter and it's floating around  I got mine from a family member.  I don't see that anyone has published it online. I don't know who has the original.  So should I copy the whole thing on the profile? It has a lot of information in it.  Should I post it online somewhere (like my blog and reference the link?
in Policy and Style by Joelle Colville-Hanson G2G6 Pilot (130k points)

2 Answers

+4 votes
Best answer
It sounds like this letter might have been written by someone who is now no longer living, correct?  And possibly the recipient is also no longer living.  If either the sender or recipient were still alive, the best thing to do would be to contact either of them requesting permission to post.

If you know who has the original document, you can contact them requesting permission to post at WikiTree.  If not, and if the content of the letter is historic, relevant, and already ubiquitously shared online, then it sounds like it will be fine to post a scanned image on WkiTree and also a transcription of relevant portions of the document on WikiTree.

Citing a personal letter as a source is important here at WikiTree and can be done at the end of whatever transcription or summary you include on a WikiTree profile with a format something along the lines of this:

<ref>Joshua C. Barnes, Letter to Mrs. White, 5 Jun 1923.   (The original handwritten letter is in the possession of Dr. David Jones, Flushing, New York. Letter ued with permission.  Joshua resided in Grosse Pointe, Michigan when he mailed this letter.)</ref>
by Cynthia Larson G2G6 Pilot (171k points)
selected by Pip Sheppard
It was more an open letter that he wrote talking about our ancestors.  He died in 1943.  It was for all the family I believe.  Everyone in the family seems to have a copy.  I have no idea who has the original.  It's more like an unpublished memoir.  It's just kind of long for a profile.  I may publish it on my blog, quote parts of it on the profile and link to it.
or you could create a free-space page, and reference that
That’s a great idea!  Thanks
+7 votes
Hi Joelle, I am not sure what is in the letter exactly, but seeing it has a lot of descendents linked to it, I would say copy it in to your biograpy with a note explaining the contents and what you expect to gain from anyone who is connected with it. I believe that from this action you should receive a lot of correspondence and possibly some information that you may be looking for. You are very fortunate to have such a letter. good luck with your research.
by Shaun Doust G2G6 Pilot (345k points)

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