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

  • November 1967 to February 1968

    January 25, 2022 by

    From this point on, the letters preserved are sporadic, with 2 to 6 month gaps. The scrapbooks, however, provide a record of events in the family, and I will use them to link up the letters. After the success of their trip to the UK, the Costains settled back into normal life in Ottawa. Cec… Read more

  • September 26 1967

    January 19, 2022 by

    I have mentioned before when I started this project, that both my grandmother (who saved these letters), and my mother (who got them back when my grandmother brought them with her when she came to live with my parents), read, organized and enjoyed these letters years after they were written as they read them again… Read more

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