I’ve thought about that letter many times over the past year, still wishing I could own it myself. Then a few weeks ago, I wrote a check for one of my son’s extracurricular activities for the same amount as the eBay listing and thought to myself, “Isn’t genealogy my extracurricular activity?” And I bought the letter. Of course, frugal me contacted the seller at her brick-and-mortar storefront and negotiated a slightly better price — and then spent all the savings on museum-quality archival sleeves.
The Hendry letter arrived in the mail today, and I cannot explain the thrill it is to hold a letter written by my own ancestor! It is fragile, but in wonderful condition for being almost 175 years old. I’d originally thought the letter was two individual sheets of paper, but Alexander actually folded a paper roughly 11 inches by 17 inches in half and wrote on it booklet style. He then folded it into ninths and closed with a wax seal. The seal did not survive to the present day, but I can see where it was from an oily imprint on the paper. Some tape holds together the edges that formed the envelope. This tape prevented me from fully transcribing the letter from photos, but it is more transparent in person. I’m hoping I will be able to decipher more of the letter now that I can examine it more closely.
But, for now, I’m avoiding manipulation of the paper. Rachael Altman, archivist with the Carnegie History Center in Bryan, Texas, will be helping me encapsulate it when she’s in town for the Texas State Genealogical Society (TxSGS) conference next month. We met at TIGR 2019, and I’m so glad she’s willing to lend her expertise to this project. I plan to take photos of the process and document here — and maybe write an article for Stirpes, the TxSGS quarterly, about it also.
Joining the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) has been on my genealogy “bucket list” for awhile. I’ve discovered eight Patriots in my family tree, and joining DAR is a way I can honor their service, while also serving my community. The genealogist in me wanted the challenge of proving my research and having it accepted by an official organization. And one final, important push was my friend Charity. She joined DAR last year and invited me to her chapter’s anniversary luncheon. It was filled with people who shared my love of country, history, and genealogy — and that’s when I knew DAR was for me.
Attending a genealogy institute has ranked high on my “to-do list” since I decided to invest more in my family history passion. I thought it would be several years until I could attend one of these week-long educational opportunities, as I’d need to travel to Salt Lake City, Atlanta, or Pittsburgh for a course that matched my research interests. But when the Texas State Genealogical Society announced TIGR 2019 would have an Advanced Southern Research Techniques track — well, I was all-in!
My maternal grandmother, Dorothy Jean Hendry Smith, passed away this morning at her home on Smith Hill in Liddieville, Louisiana. Her obituary follows:
Dorothy J. Smith 1935 – 2019
Funeral services for Dorothy J. Smith, 84, of Liddieville, will be held 2 pm Thursday, May 23, 2019, in Boeuf River Baptist Church, with Rev. Bruce Cardin and Rev. Kevin Goodman officiating. Interment will follow in Ogden Cemetery under the direction of Gill First National Funeral Home. Visitation will be 1pm until time of service at the church.