In going through my aunt and uncle’s house after they passed away, my cousin and I found several items my aunt had clearly labeled for our (or future generations’) benefit. One example is the writing slate pictured (click to enlarge it and read the note) and another is a Bible that had belonged to my aunt’s grandfather—the label says it was given to her upon his death.
Without the notes, I would’ve known the items were old family treasures, but I wouldn’t have known nearly as much about them.
Of course, that experience got me wondering once again about the best way to preserve family mementos, and to label them with whatever I know about their history. For instance, I have a necklace I received as a Christmas gift when I was 15. However, no one but me (and now you) knows the last time I wore it was at my dad’s funeral in 1963. I also have the gold locket I received as a 2-year-old—shown here; you’ll recognize the type—it opens to hold two tiny photos.
So, back to the problem: how best to document precious items for future generations? Like my aunt, I could attach handwritten notes—but unlike my aunt, my writing is miserably unreadable! Perhaps my best route is to digitally photograph items, then insert them into a Word document along with a caption or short note. In either case, it seems that doing this as I run across items is better than trying to do it all in one big whack.
I’d really like to hear your solution to the labeling problem—how to let your kids, grandkids, or future generations know the history of an item. Write and I’ll share your ideas with readers. More resources:
• Collect Memories in a Digital Time Capsule
• Wondering What to Do With Your Old Books . . .
• Cook Up A Collection of Family Recipes
• Photo Preservation
• A Checklist for Organizing Family Papers from the Minnesota Historical Society