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Family History for Sale
Who's hocking pieces of your past? Find out how you can buy back long-lost family heirlooms at these six shopping destinations.

Our ancestors left countless clues to their pasts, but we don't always find them in the obvious places. While official documents get filed in courthouses or archives, more-personal memorabilia, such as family Bibles, postcards, letters and photograph albums, get relegated to attics, basements or bottom drawers. Over time, these items may get lost, discarded or sold. For example, when my father bought a 150-year-old estate home (a house left by a deceased person) in New Orleans, he found an attic full of letters and documents from generations past. Apparently, inheritors eager to sell off the deceased's old home had abandoned these genealogical treasures.

Everyday items such as these are often discarded as junk or overlooked by people uninterested in their family's past. But the growing interest in both genealogy and local history has generated a booming business dealing in heirlooms and genealogical information. In fact, pieces of your own family history probably are for sale — but where? Try these six sources to find those long-lost heirlooms and buy them back.

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