I'd also like to introduce Ethel Isabell Nelson who took Noah as her husband, but that story is for another post.
Ethel was a very special woman who kept every postcard and letter exchanged between herself and Noah, as well as letters from other family members and important records like mortgages, death certificates, etc. These records are a treasure for the genealogist because they not only confirm the family heirarchy and places of residence, they show the actual handwritten signatures which can be used to compare against church and public records, partial or unsigned letters, etc.
Several years ago, my husband, Nelson, inherited Ethel's box of treasures and began the slow process of discovering his family history. However, he kept the box tucked away for safe-keeping when he didn't need it for research on www.ancestry.com.
A couple months ago while I was searching the box for info on his Uncle Nelson, I discovered Ethel's treasures. Many of the letters are 90-100 years old. An ivy leaf that Noah sent from England is still intact, but not for long if not cared for. Postcard-photos and ink are fading. One letter has mould forming. A rusty pin is staining a document. And a small leather notebook with addresses has the smell and white mould of a damp basement. We cannot leave these things as they are and yet they are not important documents a museum would want. Without temperature-control, they will continue to disintegrate. Since our basement flooded, I've also begun to worry about disasters out of our control... fire and vandalism, etc.
So, we've come to a decision to digitize everything for preservation. And we're taking it a step farther - Ethel kept those treasures her whole life. Why? I believe she meant to share them with her progeny but couldn't with yesterday's technology. We can do it with what we have today. However, the letters are not exciting reads. They are homey missives about a guy and a gal separated by circumstance. They talk about family members and daily chores, kissing babies and lonely days. And if you ever wanted to know how Canadians really talk, these letters will show it. Just don't laugh too hard. Come on, join us on this journey...
This 1897 photo shows Noah and Ethel attending Belhaven School together. Noah is on the far right of the back row (marked Dad), while Ethel is near the centre of the front row (marked Mom).
Noah's certificate is dated 1903 which would put him at 16 yrs old when he received it.
Hopefully, by the time I post the next installment of Noah and Ethel's journey I will have had a chance sort through Ethel's letters more thoroughly. One thing that is sorely lacking in Ethel's box of memories is a photo of herself -- a photo of anyone, really. I've posted the one above of Noah when he joins the British Navy in 1916, but that's about it. So, if any readers are from the Draper or Nelson clans and you have a photo or two, can you please email it to me using the contact form on this site? Thank you.
What would you do if you were given a box filled with 100 yr old letters?
Posts relating to this one:
Noah Clement Draper (1887-1953) - Early 1900 Camera Talk
Nelson Clement Draper (1916-1986) aka Big Nelson - Uncle Nelson's WW2 Kit Memorabilia
Nelson Clement Draper (1916-1986) aka Big Nelson - WW2 Ammo-Making Equipment
And a note on my giveaways - I've discontinued the weekly draw when it pertains to my own posts since it wasn't serving it's intended purpose of bringing in more readers - at least none that left comments.
Authors who stop by with a post and and want to feature their books will still hold giveaways, which will be announced on Facebook, loops and bookclub groups, etc. So if you're mainly interested in the giveaways, your best chance is to sign up for my email notifications of new posts.