Weekly Planner: Start a Preservation Project

Do your loved ones know the significance of items you would like preserved for posterity? Are they aware that that bundle of yellowed letters you have stashed away are letters your grandfather sent home while he was away in the service? Or that that those crumbly old recipes sticking out of a cookbook belonged to your great-grandmother? Do they know that the old stack of postcards in the closet contain correspondence from a special uncle, or that a favorite aunt made the sampler in the dining room drawer as a wedding gift? Take the time to not only make sure these items are preserved in a safe environment, but also that their significance is noted so that it won’t end up in the trash or on the table at a yard sale some day.

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5 thoughts on “Weekly Planner: Start a Preservation Project

  1. Quite a few years ago I read a poem titled “My Stuff”. The writer indicated she had a lot of “stuff”…some had monetary value, while others were sentimental items. It made me think of items handed down to me from my mother and sister. Some belonged to my grandparents. After making a list, I typed the “story” of each piece. My daughter was extremely happy to learn I was doing this. A few years ago Ancestry newsletter had an article along the same line, except it suggested that digital photos be taken of these items. So I’m including old and new special Christmas ornaments/decorations. I’ve taken many photos, downloaded to computer, then copy/paste a photo to WORD and write date rec’d and from who or where, plus any other significant data. I only wish I had begun this process much earlier in my life. At first I thought it would merely be a list and very short description and date received and from whom. I’m certainly not finished, but definitely enjoy putting these pictures and story together for my children/grandchildren. It is an ongoing project and I really thank Ancestry for the additional information I gained on this project.

  2. Thanks for this great reminder of the importance of reaching out to relatives about shared memoirs and their value to family history. I’ve been thinking for quite awhile about writing a letter to distant cousins about preserving mementos such as those you discussed here. It might even turn out to become a family blog or newsletter. Regardless, it will plant a seed in the minds of ever-busy family members to store those treasured artifacts carefully, and, if they’d like help preserving them, letting them know that I’m available to help catalogue, review, or scan them so as to save them for future generations. Your suggestion is helping me to move this up on my priority list so as to make it happen sooner than later!

  3. Since I got into genealogy seriously within the last 10 years, I have had the good luck to have inherited everything. Both my husband’s parents and my mom are gone and they saved everything. We have a gold mine of family history and it is a big job to sort and go through. My mom helped by leaving notes on everything, well almost everything. I’m doing the same. I’ve captured family receipes w/photos into a special Christmas present for my daughter. I’m labeling (notes) on all the linens I have, some that go back to my great grandmother. I preserved long time ago special things that were my daughter’s things both as a baby and a young child. Those things are now being given to her for her new baby with the history behind them. Because I can’t presume my daughter will get into genealogy like I am, I am trying to make it interesting to her. I put pictures of the people I refer to in my notes. I tell their story. It will drive her crazy to read all these things when I’m gone, but she will stop and appreciate it all some day. Something that I read maybe 3 years ago that my mom left me all of a sudden makes sense when I’ve uncovered something else. My greatest fear is something will get thrown out cause it looks like nothing. I hope my efforts prevent this.

  4. My mother and I went through all the family possessions which represented several generations, and I took notes on everything. That information is now in a database listing each item by type, its description, marks if any, maker if known, who it belonged to, any history known, in some cases an appraisal, and a photograph.

    I am continually adding more recently acquired things to the data base.

    Also, as I have a portion of a vast amount of existing family papers, the rest of which are in the hands of my cousins, I am working to get them to agree to a single non profit archival repositary for the various groups of papers & photographs when those having them are no longer interested. Meanwhile I am transcribing and distributing to interested family members at cost as much of what I have as possible to ensure that the information is not lost.

  5. This is a great reminder to me that I want to make sure that my family keepsakes are documented with a photograph/scan or video of the item and a written story to go with the item. My Mom will be helping me with the history of the older heirlooms. This is such an exciting, life long project.

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