Woman reuinted with her parents World War II love letters

Carol reading out a letter her father sent to her mother

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Chelsey Brown is a self-proclaimed “heirloom investigator” who shares the ancient letters and diary entries she discovers with her thousands of social media followers. The latest set of poignant love letters Chelsey found belonged to a former Second World War soldier and his wife.

While renovating her home 30 years ago, a stack of letters fell out from underneath a beam in Dottie’s ceiling. At the time, Dottie lived in Staten Island, New York.

The letters were love notes sent by Claude Marsten Smythe and Marie Borgal Smythe to one another during the time that Claude spent as a soldier serving in the American military during the Second World War.

Although she found them years ago, Dottie has held onto the letters and recently decided she wanted them to be given to Claude and Marie’s descendants.

After seeing Chelsey speak about heirloom returns on The Kelly Clarkson Show, Dottie decided to reach out to her.

The New Yorker sent Chelsey a photo of the letters and asked her for help in returning them to the family they belong to.

After doing extensive research on the global genealogy site MyHeritage.com, Chelsey successfully found the closest descendant of the couple – Carol Bohlin.

Living in Vermont, Carol is the daughter of Claude and Marie.

The letters were successfully sent to Carol and she told MyHeritage.com that she was “very happy” to receive them – they are now on display in her home.

Chelsey also spoke to MyHeritage.com and explained why this particular set of letters was “special”.

She said: “This one was so special because I didn’t actually know if the descendants would ever see my message about the letters – sometimes that happens.

“This one was also particularly special because it wasn’t an artefact that I found.

“A woman who was doing a renovation in the 90s found these letters in her house, and she didn’t know what to do with them for years. She’d held onto them until she discovered what I did.”

Chelsey continued: “These letters were how this couple stayed connected during World War Two. I couldn’t imagine the pain of being split from your husband for that long.”

The heirloom expert explained that she found Carol by “contacting the owner of a public family tree on MyHeritage and they immediately responded”.

“I most love returning letters – especially love letters – and diaries out of any artefact because you learn so many things about a person no record could ever tell you,” Chelsey said.

“It’s very special to read these first-hand accounts from people.”

Snippets from one of the letters, dated May 21, 1944 read: “Dearest Marie…Today being Sunday I expect to attend Church.

“Best of all I enjoy singing hymns. It reminds me of the wonderful times we had together going to meetings.

“I do hope you will be feeling better soon…Well so long honey, glad to hear you attend the Church suppers, you’re lucky to win the pie.

“Love and kisses and a huge big hug…Your hubby, Claude Smythe.”

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