If you're into e-mail and texting, consider letters and diaries the personal communication method of past generations. They're intimate, and the handwriting and personal insights of your very own forbearers are a revelation, even if they're just talking about the price of eggs from the local market. First-person accounts of important events and even the daily passions of curious, articulate people add a touching footnote to history. Take good care of your family's personal papers. They're a unique slice of days gone by, and -- who knows -- they may end up in the Smithsonian one day.