Weekly Planner: Record Heirloom Origins

JulianaAs you’re doing your spring cleaning, and dusting around all those family heirlooms, take photographs of them and take time to record the origins and any stories associated with them. Create an album with photographs and the histories of all your precious items. That way the stories won’t become lost as time goes by.

This image is one I took of some of my favorite heirlooms. The doll was my mother’s and bears the same name as my daughter. In front of it is my 2nd great-grandfather’s night stick and the teacup was my grandmother’s. Below the cup and saucer is my grandfather’s copy of Julius Caesar with his name and address handwritten on the inside cover.


15 thoughts on “Weekly Planner: Record Heirloom Origins

  1. This is such a good idea! I’ve been trying to write down little stories about each family heirloom that I have, but hadn’t thought of the picture of each one yet.
    Thank you for the reminder to do that!

  2. Great idea to photograph the objects and provide the history of the object. I’m always telling my mother to record this information so the stories will continue. Photographing the objects would help especially with a large collection.

  3. I’ve taken the pictures, now to write the stories. I even have one of me sitting in the chair that was in my great grandfather’s cobbler’s shop.

  4. I think this is a great idea. I’ve written down in a notebook what I consider our family heirlooms, (I stated these are not to be put in a yardsale!)but taking their pictures and putting them in notebook form with comments added is a great idea. This is on my to do list.

  5. My wife and I took digital photos of our family heirlooms, printed proof sheets, and took the printed sheets when we visited our mothers out-of-state, to have them identify the objects and tell us what they knew about them. Our next step is the one you describe in the article.

  6. This is a wonderful idea. My husband and I are the happy parents of a step family and this will help our kids know what heirlooms belong to which family. I’m going to get started today!

  7. I took the liberty to copy your wonderful photo and have enhanced it a little by using Photoshop CS2 so as to be able to see a little more detail in the shadow areas. When I first saw the beautiful cup I thought that I had a mustache cup in my collection which was very similar, but it wasn’t. I will be happy to send you a copy of the photo if you will drop me a line so I can know where to send it. Your articles and the comments are all great. I have enjoyed reading them all.

  8. What a gtreat idea. Our granddaughter will get all my antique jewelry and I have told her some stories but pictures with stories will be even better.

  9. I am so glad that you have told others to record their family heirlooms. I photographed ours and wrote little family stories about each; then I placed them on pages in the back of my family history albums. I have written and included family photos in seven different albums plus one for all of our family pets with happy, funny, and sometimes sad stories.

  10. This is a great idea for a scrapbook not only for family heirlooms you have in your possession, but for the one’s of other relatives. My mother has a wonderful story behind her ruby ring that my father bought her now I will have her write the story and take a picture with the ring on her finger. That way her grandchildren will have the wounderful story. I also decided to add a section for future heirlooms to this book for items I have been collecting over the years that eventually will be given to my children. The first item will be their christmas ornament collection…………Thanks for the seed you planted today!

  11. If the heirloom is a piece or a set of china, look underneath on the bottom of the piece and note the name of the pattern and manufacturer, if available. Then do an internet search for this pattern and find out the years it was made. It may be older than the relative who gave it to you, possibly an heirloom to them, also. Ask!

  12. I did this several years ago and gave copieds to my children as a part of their Christmas gift. I included a disclaimer that these were MY precious items tho they may not love them the same way. This way when I am gone and they decide to sell them at a garage sale, they won’t sell my great grandmother’s Ansonia Newton clock for $100 and think they got a bargin when I have been offered $800 for it.

  13. About 40 years ago I put adhesive tape with the name of the original owners on the bottom of my mother’s heirloom dishes. When my brothers and I were going through her estate 30 years later, we were delighted to find that this lasted through dishwashing better than expected, as many of those dishes were seldom used. In my own home I have placed brief stories about heirloom items with the item, as well as sometimes lengthier narratives in my family history binders, so that if my children (none of whom is “into” genealogy) go through dishes and such first, they will have the treasured stories.

  14. Before we had a family gathering, I took pictures of all the treasures, used the proofs sheet for small pictures, pasted them on index cards, wrote a description of each item and what history I knew and placed the card with the treasure. I gave each member of the family a different colored sticker which they placed on the card of the piece/s that they wanted. Some of their choices they took with them, others will go to them later. Then I made copies of the cards for each of them and I filed the the original index cards back in my file box for future reference. They were delighted and thankful that they now knew the stories that went with each one and would not be tempted to dump them or sell them at auction.

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