About The Author

David Grabitske

David Grabitske is the manager of outreach services at the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The Pope County Historical Society‘s November newsletter arrived on Monday. In it was an appeal for county families that create Christmas letters for family and friends to send a copy to the Pope County Museum for inclusion in their family history files. I have to admit that I and my family for a great many years have created Christmas letters, but this is the first time I’ve considered sending a copy to the county historical society. This seems like a terrific idea as it would generate a gold mine for future genealogists wondering what our lives were like.

How many of your organizations collect family Christmas letters? How long have you collected them? What kind of evidence do you have to know that they are used? Any downside to collecting family Christmas letters?

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3 Responses to Collecting Christmas letters

  1. Cathy Walters says:

    I am so glad you posted this ! I would love to hear that,my stuff would be safe from the garbish heep if my family knew of it and I would dearly loved to had seen my families ! David I sure hope this happens!(I have saved mine,but wished I had my mothers,yep the rubish heep-many of us have no control and those who do, may not have the idea-just junk.)


  2. Alice Smuda says:

    I’m glad you posted this too, David. We receive so many newsletters with Christmas cards from friends and family. The ones from friends in our county (Morrison) I do pass onto the C. A. Weyerhaeuser Memorial Museum (MCHS) for their family files. I also ask my living friends if they mind before I do this, and have explained why this is a good idea. Haven’t had anyone object to this request. My out of town friends/family, I save and put with my genealogy. It’s nice to go back and re-read them; and who knows, some of this information could help someone find a long lost relative one day.

    Alice Smuda


    Charleen Haugen reply on December 3rd, 2009:

    We have had individuals give their Christmas letters to the museum for about 3 years. I mention in our weekly newspaper column that we would like to have them send their Christmas letter to the museum and save the letters from family and friends for the museum family files. I have noticed that neighbors and friends who would normally only send me a card, now send me a card and include their Christmas letter, knowing it will go into their family file. Once a family finds out they have a file in the museum, it is interesting to see the interest they suddenly have. We have even had former pro hockey player bring photograhs and family info in for their family files.


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