Q. Do you know of software for cataloging family heirlooms and artifacts? I have books, personal papers, certificates and medals I’d like to keep track of, preferably by person.
A. Here are three options:
1. Use word processing software to describe the items. In addition to a physical description, record the article’s provenance, starting with who made it and when, through its chain of ownership to the present day. Who bought it and on what date? How much did they pay? What’s its present condition and value? Are any stories associated with the item? You might also include a picture. If you want to organize your file by original owner, put the name at the top of each page. Print two copies, one to keep in a loose-leaf binder and another one to keep with the artifact.
2. Use special software for cataloging collectibles or creating an inventory of your possessions. For instance, the $19.99 Windows program My Collectibles 3 from EasyBitSoft <www.easybitsoft.com> catalogs coins, jewelry, dolls and other items. (Get a free trial from <www.download.com>.)
3. Although family heirlooms aren’t usually genealogical sources, family tree software still accommodates them well. Create a new event (fact) type for Memorabilia or Artifact, or separate types for each kind of memorabilia (Furniture, Painting, Tableware). Enable the description field for the fact type. When you use one of these facts, enter a date and place associated with the item, such as when it was originally purchased or where it’s located now. Enter a source citation and put a picture in the scrapbook.
From the May 2008 issue of Family Tree Magazine.