Documenting Treasure Tales

Meeting a friend for a drink

Genealogy is all about place and people, establishing where and how families lived. A third dimension in genealogy could be added – ‘things’. We amass objects as we grow up, some useful others not. But what do you know about the truly valuable things in your life, the things given with history and meaning attached?

All dolled up. Where is that hat gone to?

It’s a good idea to write down who gave you that old photo album and where it originally came from. In the same way, the notes you record about an old piece of family furniture or jewellery can add to its intrinsic value. An object may not be worth anything in monetary terms, but the memories attached can provide a link back in time. Interview the people who hold on to family heirlooms and ask why those items are important to them.

To think of it in another way, the objects you hold tell the story of you and your family and become part of a genealogy of things. Like oral histories, the story of things can be lost over time and their meaning can change when passed from one generation to the next. Make sure that meaning does not disappear by archiving your family keepsakes.

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