Many families retain funeral home guest books, prayer cards, sympathy cards and letters sent at the passing of a loved one. These remembrances are often tucked away in a small box in a closet or attic and forgotten. If you stumble across an old box of cards while you are cleaning out an attic or closet, and you happen to enjoy genealogical research, you might want to open that box again and look at the cards from a different perspective.
Awhile back my sister and I found a box of sympathy cards and letters sent to the family when Zofia Szczerba Mirota died in 1953. From time to time we would go through the cards and wonder who some of the senders were and how were they connected to our family?
The “Genealogy Sisters” of course had to investigate. Most were from extended family and friends and even if their names were no longer familiar to us some fifty plus years later, by putting together bits and pieces of information we were able to identify most of them. A few stumpers remained.
One such stumper was on a lovely pale peach die-cut and embossed card sent by Mr. and Mrs. Wm Post (Blanche Kania). The old-fashioned rendering of a bouquet of lilies and forget-me-nots are simple and sweet. And I love the formality of signing the card using the Mr. & Mrs. designation. But then the researcher in me snaps back to attention. Why did Blanche feel it necessary to further identify herself by her maiden name? Would the family not know her as Mrs. Wm. Post? Who are they? Were they (or she) part of the Polish community in White House Station? Was she a distant relative or a family friend? And why do I care 59 years later?
The idea of researching someone who knew Zofia or the family well enough to send a card, whom I either didn’t know or more likely don’t remember, intrigues me. Since Maryann has just recently blogged about the prayer card and obit for Zofia, it seems timely to get started on this project. So I’ve assigned myself the task of finding out who Blanche Kania and William Post were. As I do this I’ll keep track of how I went about it, what sources were useful or a waste of time, as a sort of road map for a future project. Ever mindful of privacy issues, some details may be omitted when I report back on the success (or failure) of this project.