Letters from the Homeland and Sons of the Homeland
Personal letters offer a tremendous insight into family relationships, political stresses, and economic conditions that are difficult to obtain elsewhere. The Letters Archive is a collection of over 9,000 letters written in the first half of the 1900's; most letters are translated from German language newspapers published in North Dakota and South Dakota. We have letters written by people who emigrated to North America and South America as well as letters written by people who still lived in the homeland of either Germany or South Russia. Many letters request information on a lost relative and also have many greetings to family and friends long not seen. Economic conditions as well as everyday conditions are talked about in these letters. Each letter is translated by volunteers and donated to GRHS to give our members a better knowledge of the lives of our ancestors.In earlier years some letters were published in the GRHS Heritage Review and Stammbaum publications. GRHS members continue to work to locate and to translate additional letters, and we are fortunate to be able to make these letters available to GRHS members as they are made available to us. Please note that all of these letters are viewable by GRHS members only (i.e. a GRHS user name and password is required to view letters). GRHS membership information is available at this link.
How you can contribute to our efforts.We encourage members, especially those who know German and have facility with Frakturschrift to join in this effort. A possible source of over 50,000 letters that have been indexed can be viewed at Newspaper Archive. The majority have not been translated.
A note about the Dialect used in some letters from the Black Sea area in South Russia.
Readers are reminded that the letters contained in this listing are translated by volunteers who are not professional linguists. While every effort is made to correctly interpret the content of the letters, some of the letters are quite ambiguously written which opens the possibility of different interpretations. For example the English word for
first cousin can be: Halb-bruder (half-brother), Geschwisterkind (sibling's child), cousin, etc.
Various terms for wife can be: Geschwei, Frau, Weib, Ehe, Gatt, etc.
Terms for aunt can be: Tante, Bassel, Boss, etc.
Uncle can be: Vetter, Onkel or perhaps other terms.
Grandmother can be: Grossmutter, Grossel, Oma, etc.
The point that is the "correct" term often is varied...they are ALL "correct". There is no one "correct" term for uncle, wife, cousin, aunt, grandmother, godmother, etc. The reader is urged to keep an open mind and to do further research as needed.
The Letter Archive
Letters with a tag displayed in 'Bold' have been added to the Letter Archive since January 1, 2015. If you find a letter with a broken link or some other problem, please send a message to . Please include the letter tag.
To view a letter select the region/country/state/province you are interested in. Once you reach the surname pages you will find all letters are grouped by the writer's surname and links to all the letters referencing that surname. Each letter tag will be linked to a letter containing that surname.
|New Jersey||New Mexico||New York|
|North Carolina||North Dakota A-D||North Dakota E-H|
|North Dakota I-L||North Dakota M-R||North Dakota S|
|North Dakota T-Z||Ohio||Oklahoma|
|South Carolina||South Dakota||Tennessee|