I was inspired to search the Web for ancestral artifacts after reading the October 2004 Family Tree Magazine article by associate editor Lauren Eisenstodt (“Object Lessons,” page 50). Lauren wrote about 10 ways to research and preserve family heirlooms.
One of the sites I routinely check in hopes of finding family artifacts (or at least objects related to places my family lived) is Your Past Connections. You can search the site for free—look for Bibles, wills, photos, funeral cards and other items. Much of what’s for sale was discovered at garage sales and flea markets by genealogy folks who hope to re-connect the finds with their rightful owners.
If you find something in the Available Items database that belongs to your family, fill in a form and an e-mail is automatically sent to the person who owns the item. The owner names a price, which is usually only the cost the person paid himself, or the cost of postage. You also can submit a form requesting long-lost family heirlooms that may be found in the future.
Another site I routinely visit is eBay. I’m always astounded at the interesting items I’ve found that relate to my hometown of St. Joseph and other Missouri locales. For example, recent finds included old postcards, a street map from the late 1800s and a picture of the Pony Express Motel; the latter was a particularly interesting discovery since my dad put in that motel’s original heating system.
More sites where you can hunt down ancestral photos and other treasures:
• Family Old Photos
• Lost Faces (photo albums found and rescued)
• Rescued Photos and Family Memorabilia
• Family History Collections
• DeadFred Photo Archive
• Ancient Faces