Wednesday, October 14, 2015

"The Imperfections of My Verse"

Snippets of letters and newspaper clippings found in a now-deceased relative's personal papers can reveal so much about those elderly family members whom we barely knew. When I was gifted with such a significant pile of saved memorabilia from Agnes Tully's personal papers, I knew how important it would be to go through each piece carefully. And I brought you along with me, here at A Family Tapestry, not only as an accountability partner as I combed through every detail, but in hopes that someone watching over my shoulder might perk up and realize that, hey, that's my family, too!

It's been a while since we last discussed Agnes Tully's family, although of course, the visit to Ireland last October was inspiration to polish up my records before the research trip. However, it's safe for me to say that everything I posted about the Tully family, I was fairly certain I had first uncovered the back story and researched the pertinent details.

With those self-imposed requirements, there were some items in the collection I couldn't share. I simply couldn't figure out how the item connected with the family of John and Catherine Tully, Agnes' parents—or, for that matter, anyone else in the extended family.

When I mentioned yesterday that I wanted to review some of those items, that is what I was talking about. Hopefully, now that I've discovered an entire new branch of our Tully line, this might be timely to revisit those untraceable documents. I'm hoping I'll find some new answers—but in case I don't, at least I've got those papers digitized and added to this online collection. Who knows? Perhaps someone else will happen by, recognize a name or face or detail, and help me connect these mysterious dots to the Tully family tree.

The item I want to share today I just found the other day, while looking through the folders on an old external drive. Somehow, either I or my husband—the one who is actually the Tully relative—had scanned this brief note and tucked it away here, rather than on my computer. How that happened, I don't know, but I'm glad the letter is found.

Whoever the correspondent was, she was a niece of John Tully, Agnes' father. From the sound of her message, I envision her as a young niece. Since her letter was dated February 22, 1900—only seven years before John Tully died—she was likely born after 1880.

What confuses me is the name that is signed at the bottom of her message: "Mamie E. E. Tully." The surname tells me she was daughter of one of John's brothers. The "E. E." might be the initials of her given names, and Mamie only the family's pet name for this young woman. Then again, perhaps Mamie signifies her true first name—then what of the "E. E." affixed next to it?

We'll take a stroll through the rest of the family constellation, beginning tomorrow, to see what new items can be added to each of the families of John's siblings—especially that of the newfound brother, Michael, and his entire line. Then, we'll attempt, through process of elimination, to determine who this sweet well-wisher and niece of John Tully might have been. Hopefully, this process will alert us to any new family members that I never knew to add to the family tree before this point.

                                                                                                                               Chicago, Ills. Feb. 22, 1900.
Dear Uncle John,
     Will you kindly accept my best wishes on your birthday? I know you will overlook the imperfections of my verse and read only the heartfelt expression of one who throughly appreciates your goodness. Believe me, ever and sincerely your devoted and loving niece,
     Mamie E. E. Tully.


  1. Mamie might have had multiple middle names. That seems to have been a trend in my family. While my great-grandfather was officially "Walter Beriah Davis," he was in fact "Walter Beriah Sylvester Millard Davis." Despite having 15 children, Walter's parents were never at a loss for baby names and they didn't even have the Internet.

    1. I always thought a family had to be able to afford more than one middle name ;)

  2. E.E. I have been thinking what two E names would I link together Elizabeth Ellen, Eleanor Elizabeth, Emily Ellen, Eugenia Esther, Ella Ethyl, Elsie Edith...Mamie seems easier.:)

    1. The possibilities are likely endless, Far Side. I can see why she opted for simply Mamie! I guess the only limitations on possibilities would be that the family was Catholic, so you know those "E. E." names would have to be names of saints.

    2. I don't even have one middle name. And most of the time - I like it that way!!!

      Imagining what future family researchers will be thinking - "what WAS his middle name???! I can't find it anywhere!"

  3. I for one enjoyed looking over your shoulder while you went through some of the Tully keepsakes. It was exciting to me, in the rare cases when I was able to help ID or clarify items.

    This note is so sweet. I'm sure Uncle John readily accepted it - shortcomings in verse and all. :)

    1. Iggy, you have the most awesome knack at searching for those online gems! That's been a big help in trying to figure out all these family stories. Glad you enjoyed looking over my shoulder while I went through that pile of Tully stuff. Amazing what you can find in a pile of old papers...


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