I was happy to find this letter at an antique shop in Alberta over a decade ago. Because I learned a wee bit of Norwegian back in my university days, I could read its contents and recognize that it contained some useful genealogical information. It was written by Anna Ydse,and mailed from Wærdalen (Verdal), Nord Trøndelag, Norway in 1913, and addressed to Mrs. Mary Ellingan (Ellingsen?) in Webster, Saskatchewan, Canada. I have attempted to translate portions of the letter for you.
The letter begins, "[Dear] Unknown Cousin! With that, I send you a few words even though I've never seen you. You probably wonder who on earth I am! I am the daughter of your uncle Oluf, but you know don't know him either. We were in Sweden when you were at home. It is now 7 years since we came here to Vardalen and we have purchased Lillesan, if you know where it is, it isn't far from Rinbret." Anna goes on to talk about her sister Martine, and brother Johan, and her own future plans.
"I've heard that you have your home in Canada and there you have done very well, that you have a kind man and small children and everyone is thriving. I have also have a little boy of three years who makes me very happy. His father is also in Canada, so perhaps I will also have a home there!" She concludes her letter with good wishes from various family members, and adds a postscript, "I hope you will answer my letter."
We know that Anna Ydse's letter was answered, because Mary wrote on the back of the envelope in Norwegian, "replied april 1 1913."
I found Anna Oline Ydse, born December 23, 1883 in the 1910 Norwegian Census, living at the farm, Lillesand in Verdal, with her parents Oluf and Mali Ydse. The three year old son Anna mentions in her letter is Henrik Oscar Henriksen, born February 5, 1910 in Verdal, so he is just a few months old when the 1910 census was taken.
I wonder if Anna Ydse and her husband Mr. Henriksen ever settled in Canada? A little more digging could probably answer that.
UPDATE! January 30, 2012: I just mailed off Anna Ydse's letter to a family member in Norway. How fitting that it's heading back to Verdal.