As I attend various community groups, organizations and libraries…. I often hear a similar message, “…. but I don’t have any family treasures!”
I thought it was time to help everyone define what might be a family “treasure” or heirloom.
Most people immediately think we are talking about precious jewellery, expensive rare art and ceramic items… Royal Doulton, Lladro, Wedgewood and more…. high priced antiques.
This is not necessarily what we mean by family heirlooms…. treasured passed down through the family. Here we are talking about an object/artifact that has been passed to you from a previous family member.
Yes, it might be a special item, as often special items are more likely to survive, but it can also be a simple item with no monetary value, even something home-made, which by itself may have no real meaning. It might be quite insignificant unless we stop and tell it’s story.
We can look at it another way too, this small object is an excuse to write down a little bit of history (a short biography) about the person who had owned it! Your grandfather, an uncle who was a war hero. It might be an item from your grandmother’s sewing box. This can bring forward not only her story, but also capture some moments in time, when everything was made quite differently, and often made at home.
It could be:
A Royal Navy military button ~ a mother-of-pearl boot hook ~ a gentleman’s collar stud, shirt armbands, a child’s christening serviette ring ~ a lace handkerchief ~ a school boy’s harmonica ~ a Women’s Land Army arm band ~ a sewing sampler ~ a lady’s cellulose cigarette holder ~ a royal commemorative mug!
If you stop to write down the story of the item, and then expand it with details of who had owned it, when, where and why…. you have a more complete story and a mini biography.
Maybe it is the only thing that survived after a move, or from a war, from a tragedy or a happy vacation! By adding it’s story you can give it an extended life and share knowledge of its owner to pass on to future generations….
A family treasure, is just that, an item that may be treasured by your family members now and in the future!