Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Dear Daughters: When I Am Dead and Gone, Please Keep These Things

There have been several blog articles recently on ensuring that our genealogy research will live on after we’re gone. This is definitely a concern I share. I do intend to leave instructions on what is to be done with my research, and I also want the most precious family heirlooms to be kept in the family.

To help my daughters identify these items, I am taking pictures of them and adding them to a folder called “Keep These” in iPhoto on my computer. I would like to post some of these pictures here so that I can share the stories behind the items that make them so precious to me and my husband.

You see, most of these things are very ordinary looking. Some are old and worn, some are chipped, some are dull. And, I am embarrassed to admit, we have a lot of junk lying around this house. Add to that thousands of books, records, CDs, photo albums, and what may eventually be many boxes filled with genealogy files, that amounts to a lot of stuff that my two daughters will have to sort through. How will they be able to identify which items should be kept? Will they be able to remember an offhand remark I made about that little brown and blue coffee cup with the chip that my mother gave me one Christmas?

So here is the first item, the above-mentioned coffee cup. My mother gave it to me one Christmas when I was in college. It has a chip on the rim which my husband repaired many years ago. It is my favorite coffee cup for two reasons. The first is that I like the way the rim feels against my lips when I drink coffee from it; even with the chip, it is very, very smooth, and I am very particular about this. The second reason is that my mother had very little money with which to buy presents for people, so the things that she bought for me are especially dear. She bought me several practical items that were quite sturdy and have endured and had a lot of use through the years, including this cup.

My goodness, how did all that grime get between the tiles?


  1. Greta,

    Thanks for the Puckerbrush Award! I really appreciate it. Glad you are enjoying my blog. I think your picture idea of family heirlooms to keep is a neat one.

  2. These "little" items are so important, aren't they? I've been so busy trying to photogrpah the past, that I forget I need to photograph the present in order to tell "my" story. Thanks for a great post!


  3. Greta, What a great thing to do. I have been given several old items that were my grandmother's and great grandmother's. I put notes with them but I worry the notes will get lost and I won't remember what belonged to who. I think I'll make that a project.

  4. Like Harriet said, put notes on them. Use labels that will stay for a long time. If there is room, the item is big enough and it has some place the label can be places with out being too noticable. Then write the history of the item, who all it belonged to, and maybe even who you intend to pass it down to. That away if the file gets lost in the pile of papers, the items still have something on them. You remind me I have a few things from my grandmothers that I need to do that to. I mean to and never get around to it.

  5. Once again, another great blog idea! I have put notes behind plates, framed photos and all items hanging on walls that are heirlooms. Some of my cabinets look like a museum as I made small cardboard "name plates" for some items. And then there is the database on the computer....But, I have two sons, who will probably sell the whole kitakaboodle :-(