We often think of Genealogy Queries in our own timeframe. We write to a stranger, who might be a "cousin" in hopes of acquiring new information to add to our family stories. Mary English, in Hope Cottage, Sleights, Yorkshire, England, who responded in 1897 to a letter she received from A. E. Cooke seeking genealogy information on the family line. Mr. Cooke must have been excited to finally receive such a letter to his query. A letter full of genealogical information.
To A.E. Cooke Hope Cottage, Sleights, Yorkshire, England, March 31st.1897
Dear Mr. Cooke
I am sorry to see that it is nearly a month since you wrote to my husband and your letter is still unanswered. I am now writing instead of him as three years ago last October he had a stroke of paralysis and has never recovered the use of his left leg and arm. It is very very sad that such a young man should be so stricken. He will not be 39 until September; especially as he has a family of four small children, the eldest just eight. He has been obliged to give up all business and his father not leaving him much our means are very straightened. He is very bright and cheerful and bears it all very well.
Now, I must explain who I am, for I fancy I must be as near a realtion to you as my husband is. My maiden name was Mary Brodrick and my great grandmother was Mary Cooke, the daughter of an Andrew Cooke of Glaisedale. Her husband was George Brodrick and they had four sons, William, my grandfather, Thomas (married) and Andrew and George who both died unmarried. My father has been parish priest for 50 years at Sneaton, near Whitby. It seems odd that Arthur and I should be married in the same church (Sneaton) where my grandmother had married nearly 100 years before. We have been married 10 years.
All the Cookes and Cooks have vanished from Whitby. Poor Little Hannah Cooke, daughter of Thomas and Hannah Cooke died aged 78 in Whitby the year before last and was buried in the same place at Sneaton, as my husband's aunt was laid in [in]1888. All my father's cousins, the Cookes are gone now except Alice the daughter of Nesfield Cooke, and widow of Robert Benson. She lives at Bath I will make more imquires [inquiries] in the family about the cookes. We may learn a little more from my father's sister, Miss Brodrick who lives in London and may have some papers that may throw a little light upon the subject.
Mary English goes on to provide more information in her letter about the family in Yorkshire. She even says she will "go up during the summer to see Joseph Thompson of Glaisedale; his mother was a Cooke; perhaps he can tell me something more about our relations." What a wealth of family names, dates, connection, places this one little letter offers.
Some of us are not that lucky to receive such an amiable and informative letter, but it is always worth a try. The moral in this post is "write those queries". You never know what you may get in return. Also, when you receive a query, do your best to respond and provide information that you can share.
This typewritten letter (1932) was a transcription from the original handwritten letter (1897) . The original handwritten text of the letter was destroyed in a house fire. Think about transcribing or having your own historical family documents transcribed. Share copies with members of your family. If something should happen to the original, you would still have the information to pass down in your family.