Monday, August 28, 2006

So Where Are your Families Heirlooms?

One of the suggestions I give to clients and those I teach is that it is so important to check out ebay for your families "stuff". I run across other people's family heirlooms when I go to thrift stores, antique stores, swap meets and ebay. It makes me sad to see old pictures sold to be used as an "instant ancestor" instead of an attempt to reunite them with descendents.

Well here's another example of this happening. Our local newspaper, the San Bernardino Sun (San Bernardino, Caliofrnia) ran an article on Friday, August 25 on the front page of the Local section. The Article "Photos Among Finds" is all about the great treasures that a local woman finds at yard sales. Now overall I love stories like this because it's kinda like watching Antiques Roadshow where someone uses an old blanket to cover their car in the garage and it happens to be a rare example of a Native American Rug from the 18th century and worth a million. I love that.

This article goes on to report of a certificate signed by President Kennedy that this woman came across stuck in some books at a yard sale. "The certificate honors the memory of Roland C. Ehret, whom (the woman in the story) has never heard of, for his military service."

I really wish that certificate was in the hands of Mr. Ehret's family. I think that unfortunately, too often family items get sold. I know we live in a culture where we have a lot of our own stuff and feel like we can't take on the stuff of family members but some things are important.

One of my projects, the Lost Letter Project is my attempt to reunite photos, certificates, and letters with the family members who maybe didn't even now they existed. I will be posting surnames from this project on my website at www.yourfamilyhistoryresearch.com under the link "Lost Letter Project". Also I want to recommend websites like Dead Fred where people can upload pictures they purchase or find so that they can be found by family.
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For those who don't know me, I am a genealogist specializing in American records. I write articles for the internet newsletter GenWeekly, published by Genealogy Today (www.genweekly.com and www.genealogytoday.com). I provide presentations for genealogy and historical societies on various topics relating to Genealogy.