Weekly Planner: Catalog Your Heirlooms

JulianaAs keeper of the family history, you probably have some family heirlooms scattered around your house. Have you ever taken the time to note their significance? Why not create your own catalog, complete with digital photographs. Tell who the original owner was, whether it was a gift on a special occasion, and any story about the item? You will be helping to ensure that the item doesn’t end up on a flea market table once you’re gone, and you can also store a copy of your catalog off-site for insurance purposes.

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5 thoughts on “Weekly Planner: Catalog Your Heirlooms

  1. My mother began a family tradition of labeling all the VIP (very important possessions) items in her home. Each VIP item had a number glued to the bottom, and a handwritten list was kept in the family file cabinet. The list detailed why each item was a VIP, with as much history as she felt necessary. When I first saw the numbers and read the list, I rolled my eyes, and felt this was my mother’s very anal retentive personality. However, now that I have her list, and the VIPs, I have expanded it, and have an even longer list to ‘burden’ our daughter! :)

  2. My kids and I did this via video tape, with audio comments. Then a copy for each and they now get to choose up.

  3. I’m in the process of writing a book as a Christmas gift for my family re: family heirlooms…where they originated; how they came to be with me: any financial value; memories that I have of them, etc. I’m finding it a great way to share some of my life stories and those of my parents and grandparents with my children and grands. It’s much less intimidating than setting out to write an autobiography. It gives me a chance, too, to share my values and those of my family of origin.

  4. Perhaps 10 years before her death at the age of almost 99, my mother-in-law, Evelyn, took a ruled, legal pad and began listing all the items of interest in her home. (And I do mean, all!) A retired elementary school teacher, her still precise handwriting gave information about the origin of each item, and whenever possible, the date it was received, and the owner. She even sketched some maker’s marks from a piece of silver or pottery. The list went on for many pages. Copies of the list were given to both her sons. After her death, when members of the family either chose or were given items on the list, because her descriptions were present, real meaning was given to the item received–it was more a “gift from her.” I have referred back to this list of Evelyn’s a number of times, perhaps to remind myself of something about a certain item, but always it is reminiscent of a visit with her. Her list itself was a very helpful gift to her family.

  5. I have made a codicil for my will (and given our executors a copy) and listed which child is to receive objects of importance. I have made typed copies as well as a copy on disc, but I think the important thing is the typed/written copy as technology changes over time. Who knows what medium will be in vogue a few years later, so a hard copy is most important. My mother made a list for her 2 daughters and it helps to settle any disagreement over family goods peacefully.

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