Many of these letters were purchased from the internet in the course of conducting historical research. Some were useful to me and others were not. But I have found all of them interesting for one reason or another and I have enjoyed researching the people and places mentioned by the 19th century letter writers. If you can add any supplementary information to what I have gleaned from the internet, I’d love to hear from you.

The transcripts of these letters are offered here for the benefit of educators, historians and/or family history researchers. I derive no monetary benefit from my efforts to transcribe and post them. I use my extensive  knowledge of historical events and my access to on-line research tools to forensically establish the identity of the correspondents and the relationships between them that might had otherwise remained a mystery.


18 responses to “About

  • Scott W. Hawley

    Hello. Love the site! I am particularly interested in any other biographical information you might have about Isaac Humphreys (born 1766).. I am doing research on the Humphreys family in Philadelphia so any resources you can share would also be super helpful. It was a delight to come across him here. Thanks much, Scott.

  • Melinda Iley-Dohn

    I am the Great-Grand daughter of Reverand Valentine Harlan Iley. I Googled his name as I do with family members from time to time and found this. I am gratified to see for the first time in my life the words of a man who died decades before I was born. How can I get access to other artifacts of my ancestors? Please advise.

    • Griff

      Melinda: Thank you for your comment. It is a joy to learn that the good Reverend’s words reached a descendant. I am certain this letter was sold on e-bay some time ago by an acquaintance of mine but not before I was permitted to scan it and transcribe it for posting on this website. Unfortunately I do not recall any other letters by Rev. Iley. — Griff

  • Philippe de Laperouse

    Griff – By pure coincidence, I discovered that archives including personal letters and other memorabilia(including the daguerrotype featured on your website) concerning my great-great-great grandfather James T. Homans was recently sold in the market. Apparently, you may be the owner of some of these objects. As I am conducting family research, I would very much appreciate being able to have access to transcripts of whatever materials you may have. I would also be interested in having the opportunity to acquire them given their importance to me as part of my family’s history.

    • Griff

      I do not own any of the James T. Homans Letters. I believe several of his letters were purchased over a year ago by an acquaintance of mine who has since sold them, individually, on e-bay. Before posting them for sale, he permitted me to transcribe the letters and gave me authorization to publish them on my Spared & Shared Websites. I don’t believe he has any more of them but I will check with him and let you know if he does. I think I may have a few more transcribed that I have not yet published. The picture that is posted with one or more of the letters on my sites is NOT Homans — only a daguerreotype of an unidentified person who I imagined he might look like. I found the letters very interesting and I’m pleased to know that I have managed to get the content and images of the letters to a descendant if not the letters themselves. — Griff

  • Ann Avery Hunter

    William Ellis was the brother of 2 of my Ellis gr.gr.grandparents in Louisa Co, VA. Roger Quarles was the brother of another gr.gr.grandmother, Frances Quarles Thomson of Louisa Co. William remarried twice after writing this letter and ended up in Cooper Co, MO where he died in 1850.

  • Anthony

    What a marvelous idea…a website for preserving and sharing letters from the past! I’ve got my own family letters some of which date to 1821…most are in Spanish but if there is interest in them I’d consider sharing them here as well.

  • Susan Morse Zawyrucha

    What a delight to stumble across this website and find a letter written by my ancestor, Lucy Cary Morse. In it she mentions one of my ancestors, Moses Morse, that I have been researching. Thanks to your effort Lucy Cary is no longer just a name on a family tree. She is a warm and delightful person. I am in your debt.

    • Griff

      Susan: I’m so pleased you found this letter and that Lucy’s words helped you to know her better. Your thanks more than made the effort worthwhile. — Griff

  • Susanne Ray Chrysler

    It was very exciting to find the letter from Sarah Maria Dunlap Barnum to Abijah B. Dunlap. Sarah is my husband’s great, great grandmother. We have several more letters from/to those ancestors. I would love to see them posted here. Do I understand, however, that they must first be published or sold so you can acquire them? Also, is there any way to find out who has the letter from Sarah that you have posted?

    • Griff

      I transcribe these letters for a friend who sells them on e-bay & generally don’t publish them on one of my blogs until after they have been sold. Sarah’s letter was sold a couple of years ago so I have no idea where the letter is now. If you want to publish more of your ancestors here, let me know. — Griff

  • Pam Cooper

    I was thrilled to find a letter from William Bross to his sister Mary in 1838. I am researching the family for a personal video history I am doing for someone in the Lloyd family ( William Bross’ daughter Jessie married Henry Demarest Lloyd). Can you tell me if there were more of these letters? Or if your friend might know something more about them? Thank you!

  • William Dickerson

    It was pure chance that we found the letter concerning the Rev. John Wm. Shepard. Dec 4th is the birthday of his grandson Dr. Luther D. Shepard Jr. (1872-1967) which prompted a search. I am the grand nephew of Dr. Shepard and we have other letters that would be of interest. I also have letters written by my great aunt Nancy Dickerson Welch written to her kin in Iowa during the Civil War years. Nancy walked the Oregon Trail in 1844. How do I contact you and participate? I am a novice to blogs and tweeting.

  • Jamie Adair

    Bravo to you for this amazing blog! What tremendous work you have done here. I am a descendent of William Leverett Woodbridge and I was tickled pink to read the story of his pet bear! I love it.

  • timetravelingwithalyssa

    Your blog is amazing. I am a historian and I love linking all the tidbits of information to tell the stories of the past. You are doing a great job of that here. I’d write more, but I gotta get back to reading these.

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