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A Genealogist In The Archives

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas In The Archives!

Yes, you can find Christmas in the Archives!

Record collections in a lot of archives, historical/genealogical societies and libraries have records that celebrate Christmas and they could have your ancestors name on them.

Postcards: One of the most popular forms of Christmas records in the archives are postcards. There were various kinds of postcards that depicted Christmas that our ancestors used to send messages to other family members or friends.

Christmas postcard ca. 1930 from the Bateman Family Records Collection, located in the Manuscript Collection of the Houston County, Tennessee Archives

Christmas Cards: Every year we send out Christmas cards to our friends, family and neighbors to wish them a "Merry Christmas". Our ancestors did the same thing. Many of our archives have wonderful vintage Christmas cards in their collections.

Inside of a Christmas Card ca. 1941 from Nashville Pure Milk Company from the Bateman Family Records Collection located at the Houston County, Tennessee Archives

Christmas Business Ad: If your ancestor owned a business, there is a possibility they could have put an ad in the local newspaper wishing the community and their patrons a "Merry Christmas". These types of records can be found in archived collections or in microfilmed newspapers.

Christmas business ad with recipes ca. 1991, located in the Vertical File Records Collection in the Houston County, Tennessee Archives

Letters to Santa: Children writing letters to Santa Claus was popular for our ancestors as well as today. Some newspapers would published these letters and maybe one of your ancestors or one of their children wrote a letter and it was published.

These are just a few of the Christmas records that can be found in an archive. You might have to do some research and dig a little bit but if these records exist you will find them.

These types of records will be found in Vertical File Collections sometimes called Subject File Collections. They can also be found in Manuscript Collections. When researching in Manuscript Collections be sure to read the Finding Aid to see what is specifically in the collection. They can also be found in microfilmed newspapers in various repositories.

I would encourage genealogists to read the month of December in local newspapers where their ancestors lived. There are a lot of advertisements, letters, Christmas greetings, baby's first Christmas photos and more that can be found.

So, YES, Christmas is in the Archives!

Remember: "It's Not All Online, Visit or Contact An Archive Today"

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