There’s a family story on my mom’s side about a dent in a silver pitcher Mom inherited from her dad’s mom. I don’t remember how the story goes, but it has something to do with my grandpa and his brother arguing.
Luckily, I can go home tonight, call my mom and ask her to repeat the details (at which time I’ll write them down). But that opportunity won’t be around forever, so I’m planning to start keeping track of the specifics and stories about the heirlooms in our family.
If you want to do something similar, here are nine things to try to find out about each heirloom:
- Who in your family first owned the heirloom
- When and how it came into that person’s possession
- When the heirloom was created and by whom
- How the heirloom has been passed down in your family (in other words, its provenance)
- Any stories associated with the heirloom
- Who owns the heirloom now
- Who will be the future owner of the heirloom (so generations to come don’t lose track of it)
- The heirloom’s composition (so it can be properly cared for)
- For an heirloom with monetary value, a professional appraisal amount (so it can be insured)
You can record your findings on our heirloom inventory form, downloadable free from FamilyTreeMagazine.com. Also try to take photos of the item and any manufacturer’s or other identifying marks to keep with your records.
You’ll find articles on preserving family photos and heirlooms on FamilyTreeMagazine.com. For more guidance, see these resources from Family Tree Shop: