Researching Dear Mister Ward
The letters that make up Dear Mister Ward provide a uniquely personal glimpse into the every day lives of the folks who wrote them. Ever since I rediscovered them I’ve wanted to learn more about those people. I also feel a certain obligation to try and find any living relatives or acquaintances. As someone who has done extensive research on my family history and is the de facto archivist for much of my family I know I would want to read a letter my relative had written.
My goal is to make a documentary about the letters and include some details about the people and the places they lived. In the meantime I have been writing to a blog pretty regularly about my discoveries.
My main sources for research have been Ancestry, Family Search, and Newspapers.com. That has given me a start and helped confirm some names and places. However finding living relatives from those sources can be tricky. I’ve left a note on the Ancestry profile of every person that I’m pretty sure I’ve successfully identified and reached out to some Ancestry and Family Search users who have those folks in their trees. I’ve managed to connect with a few relatives that way and have even been in contact with one person mentioned in a letter. But I’ve hit a lot of dead ends lately so I’m reaching out to the public to help fill in the gaps and make the final connections.
I’d also love to get photos of the places they lived. If you have any photos, know any of the people whether you’re related or not, or have any general suggestions you can share them with this form or via the Dear Mister Ward Research Group on Facebook.
I’m in the process of posting summaries of what I’ve learned so far on the Dear Mister Ward blog. I’ll be adding links on those pages as they get posted.