Sunday, October 2, 2011

I Just Received a Letter From My Great-Great Grandfather

Well, OK so it wasn't actually sent to me - it was sent to his daughter in 1919.  But today is the first time I've ever seen it.  (It was shared with me by a second cousin once removed who found me through my blog.)

Helen & William Benzie
The great-great grandfather in question is William Benzie and he was writing to his daughter, Lizzie who was living in Montana with her husband Fred.  William is writing to let Lizzie know that her mother has died.  William and Helen still lived in Inverurie, Scotland and both are buried there.

Here is the letter that was in my e-mail box this morning when I went down stairs to my office to work on my homework.

10 Constitution St, Inverurie
                  April 20th 1919
Dear Lizzie,
Jeanie and I are very
sorry to tell you that poor
Mother died on the 16th April
through dropsy. She was
ill mostly all winter with
swollen feet and legs up
to the knees and about
two months ago they broke
and ran out water. She
was wonderful well in
health through the winter
but changed about a week
ago then sank very quickly and

 passed away in three days -
- just sleep'd away. Jeanie
came home six weeks ago
and had been attending her
as she could not, even, walk
about in the house, but just
sat in a chair. We are very
sorry, indeed, as we feel such
a want in the house. With
kind regards to Fred, yourself
and family, trusting you are all
well. Your loving Father &
Sister Wm & Jeanie Benzie

Reading this made me, once again, realize the importance of writing.  How thrilled I am over this short two pages that give me just a little glimpse into the life of my great-great grandfather.  "...we feel such a want in the house" - considering he was a dour Scot I imagine that is as effusive as he was likely to be!


  1. What a treasure. I don't know how you can concentrate on your homework when you have this sad letter to hand.

  2. In addition to having a priceless letter, you have a priceless contact with your cousin. Don't you love when someone finds you through your blog?

  3. What a fantastic thing to find in your inbox, Diana. You can feel the sincerity in it. It's so neat that your cousin found you through your blog!

  4. Now that is a super mail call! I would be shaking for hours! FABULOUS!!!

  5. It is always wonderful to hold a letter written in our ancestors handwriting. It brings us just a little closer, makes them real, brings them to life. Congratulations on a wonderful find, but such a sad letter.

  6. What an amazing find ...I love finding/being given letters ...I just re read them over and over.

  7. What a treasure you have in this letter. Even though the words reveal a sad event, just the way it is written and the family history is priceless. Thank you for stopping by CITexas Gal and becoming a Follower...which I will reciprocate by Following your blog. I look forward to reading more letters and posts from your wonderful blog.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal/Tracks of My Texas Ancestors

  8. Marvelous: the letter and the contact. You had a twice great day.

  9. This letter is such a treasure. Martine

  10. What a terrific find. A sad story, but how interesting to have this detailed information. It reminds me, like you, that it is still important to hand write letters. Emails won't get passed around to relatives down the line!

  11. This letter is very touching. I feel the spirit of it, and it is with great sadness. This is a wonderful treasure to see a moment in times past.


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