Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Carrie’s Letters

‘Serendipity’ is a term genealogists frequently use to explain the unexpected turn of events that help us in our search for information about our ancestors.  We genealogists like to believe that our ancestors can at times somehow guide us to information to learn about their lives.

Carrie's letters box 1Carrie's letters box 2

In the 1980s my father, Olin Warner, Jr., was given a shoebox of letters. Raymond McKay, a local farmer in Aquebogue who my father had known over the years was getting ready to demolish his family home. This house was where my great grandfather John Warner lived with several of his sons, including my grandfather, after his wife Carrie died. Mr. McKay decided to take one last look through the empty house the morning the bull dozers were arriving. Upstairs in the back of a closet he came across this box of letters. When he realized what they were he decided to give them to my father.

The letters then sat in my father's closet for another 25 years. My father and one of his cousins read the letters over the years. Now I remember my father mentioning the letters at times but I never really paid much attention to them or read them. When I was back East visiting one Christmas, about 6 years ago,  something came up about the letters once again. I asked to see them and finally realized the significance of what we had. What an amazing treasure this was of day to day life mainly in Baiting Hollow (small village about 60 miles east of New York City), New York from 1880-1910. I grew up about 4-5 miles away and was familiar with where my grandfather grew up and a lot of the local family names, the Baiting Hollow Congregational Church, etc.

What a find these letters were! The journey began……


  1. What a treasure trove! And to be found in the back of a closer in the 9th hout like!!

  2. What a treasure trove! And to be found in the back of a closer in the 9th hout like!!