Letters to Family & Friends during Spanish Flu

In 2020 and 2021, with the Covid-19 Pandemic, we have kept family and friends informed of our health, jobs and getting the vaccines using email, text messages, Skype, Facetime, Facebook, Twitter, etc. That is 21st technology. For our ancestors who experienced the 1917-1919 Spanish Flu, they could use the telephone, telegram, or writing and sending a letter.

Most likely saved over the generations would be the letters, but maybe a telegram also. These are what you need to check with other relatives to see if any were kept and handed down. There are many parallel events and emotions experienced by ancestors in 1918 and people today. You may not have checked about the experiences your ancestors had in 1917-1919 and how similar things now are, but you should.

Many of those letters can also be related to those serving in the Red Cross, military, or factories during World War One (the Great War).

Some of the experiences that are similar include: wearing of facial masks, the closing of theaters, people out of work, schools closed and especially the death of friends and family members. The big item missing for them in 1917-1919, no vaccine was developed. So to learn what they were thinking, feeling and experiencing can provide comfort today for you.

Check with relatives and have them look in photo albums, old books, journals, in the family Bible, or a stack of old documents. Another idea – contact the hometown museums or historical societies where your ancestors lived, Maybe someone donated the letters.

It has been said, reading these letters, “you empathize with what people were going through in 1918, and that helps you empathize with what others are going through now.”

Photo: 1918-Children wearing masks.

Related FamilyTree.com Blogs:

100 years – The Spanish Flu

Changes in America After the Spanish Flu

Celebrities Who Faced the Spanish Flu

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