Family documents are a tossup- what was considered worth keeping for one hundred years? I have documents that date from 1910 to the 2000s- a school memoir, the draft of a will, travel diaries, photos, ephemera, and hundreds of letters that start ‘Dear Mummy’. Trivia from the past becomes fascinating when a window into a different way of life opens- even if one only gets a peek.

This family history starts in the middle of the eighteenth century when the Hazell brothers left England and ended up in St Vincent, West Indies.  My mother, Cynthia, recorded what she and her cousins worked out about the family tree, and also wrote stories about her mother’s life in the 1890s and the early twentieth century.  The blog follows chronologically from the early posts with those stories; a memoir written by my grandmother, Carol, when she was seventeen; family photos to illustrate the posts, to the 1920s when Cynthia’s letters begin.  I hope you enjoy the twentieth century from her perspective.

  • Family Letters

    August 9, 2019 by

    When I first thought of reading my mother’s old letters to my grandmother, it was because I had been listening to CBC radio talking about the polio scares of the 1950s.  My husband Pat is five years older than I and can remember the public swimming pools in Windsor being closed because of fear of… Read more

  • September 18 1969

    August 15, 2022 by

    Wednesday [Although I believe this was actually written on Thursday the 18th of September, a week since Cyn and Charlie had taken Linda to university.] Darling Lindy, Thank you so much for both your nice letters – Charlie and I really enjoyed them. I will write properly when I get back from N.S. this afternoon,… Read more

  • September 5 1969

    August 11, 2022 by

    These letters on the occasion of the first Costain bird leaving the nest were already complicated by the fact that one parent was travelling and the other parent was handling the departure and all the attendant details. These included almost daily letters not always dated properly! This note from Cyn to her daughter should have… Read more

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