POLL: When was the last time you received a handwritten letter?

How would you feel if one day, wandering around your home’s attic, you stumbled upon a box full of documents belonging to the home’s former owners?

Inside the box: plot maps, deeds, census records and stories – documented in handwritten letters (revealing a cherished piece of the author’s personality) – of what life in the home was like day-to-day, as well as significant events that may have occurred.

Handwriting: An endangered species?

Most would call this discovery a treasure — particularly the handwritten letters. In this age of digital media, tweets and blog posts, the simple beauty and depth a handwritten letter conveys is in many ways priceless because of how seemingly rare it is.

One of the things that makes a Home History Book archival journal different from digital media, such as software and Web sites, is the ability to display the handwriting — and in turn — the personality of the people who use it. While raw genealogical information in the form of spreadsheets, digital records and maps are fascinating of course, there is an added dimension of personality and texture that handwriting conveys.

In honor of National Handwriting Day earlier this week (Jan. 23), we are asking you a poll question. We’d be very interested to see what you have to say.

Houstory heading to Williamsburg & Philadelphia; Twitter time; baby, it’s cold outside

Before I begin this post, I first want to say I hope our readers in the Pacific Northwest are staying warm. My niece posted on Facebook that it was 17 degrees where she was in Ferndale, Wash. Ouch! Looks like I got out just in time.

It's always sunny...in Texas.

Until recently, I was living at the ‘Houstory World Headquarters’ in Ferndale with my brother Mike (the Houstory Publishing founder) and his lovely family — but in late December I moved back to Austin, Tex., to be with my beautiful wife and to start the ‘Lone Star’ division of our company.

As I look outside my office window (it’s a rather pleasant 76 degrees and sunny) I have to say I think I made a pretty good decision to skip winter. Sorry, that was just cruel. At least you folks up in Washington state don’t have to deal with ‘Cedar Fever‘ — a gem of an ailment I’m suffering from that strikes Texans during the middle of winter. I suppose that’s justice, though.

One more thing before I get to the news: If you are not following us on Twitter, I would recommend you do so. Lots of great info is being shared there by genealogy experts from across the world (stuff that you’re not seeing if you are only following us on Facebook or reading our blog).

Additionally, we will no longer be updating our Facebook page with tweets. As I’ve been learning, the two platforms are truly apples and oranges. Twitter will be a more ‘real-time’ resource — with a lot more conversational tone and a steadier stream of updates — while Facebook will include more substantial posts (but not as often).

You can find us at http://twitter.com/houstorypub

Tweet tweet.

Now the big news: We are very excited to announce that we will be attending our first two trade shows in March. The first one will be in Williamsburg, Va., at the Mid-Atlantic Innkeepers Trade Show and Conference (March 4-6). It should be a lot of fun, as relatively very few people have had a chance to see our books in-person. My wife Tasi will be joining me for that trip.

The following weekend, Mike and I shall be in Philadelphia at the Historic Home Show, sponsored by Old House Media Group. That show runs from March 10-11. If you are in the area, or know anyone who would like to see our offerings, please stop on by.

We have several more trade shows to attend throughout the year, so we will keep you guys aware of things. Well, thanks for reading, and hope ya’ll have a great week! (See, I’m becoming more and more Texan every day.)