Sunday, June 22, 2014

My Genealogy Journey ~

Keeper of Your Treasures:
Write Heirloom Provenances
Karen Utter Jennings

Are you the keeper of your family history “stuff”? Do you have family heirloom treasures in your possession?  Do you know stories about your treasures? Does anyone else in your family know what they are, where they came from, why you have them? 

Above an antique oil lamp given to me by my great-grandmother, Ollie Johnson Utter Brier. After researching it, I discovered much more about it. 

What if those important treasures were thrown away or sold after you passed away because your family did not realize the importance of those treasures in your family history?

Below is my father's Goosey Goosey Gander child's sterling silver fork and spoon set.

It’s important to document your heirlooms stories before a disaster happens. The women in my family passed down heirlooms and told the story behind them so that each generation knew the story behind the items. A provenance is the history of ownership of an item.

I have many special family heirlooms in my home. 

How do you start? You say that you cannot write. Yes, you can! Here’s how.

Start by taking photos of your precious family heirlooms. After you are finished, sit down with paper and pen or an inventory form (you can make one yourself) and start documenting the information about each item.

What should you write about?

Your name:

The date:

Item name:

What is it?

Describe it:

When did you acquire it?

Where did you get it?

Who gave it to you?

Who had it before that person?

If it is handmade, who made it?

Where did it come from?

Why is it important to you?

Does it have a story?
After you write the provenances and include the photographs for all of your family heirlooms, tell your family about what you are doing, then keep your documentation in a safe place.

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