Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tuesday Tip - Document Your Heirlooms. WHY?

Editor's note: Today's post was written by Sandra Gardner-Benward

As you read on this past Saturday's blog post, alot of our members participate in the Show N Tell and are very proud of their family heirlooms and bring them to share what they know about it. Sometimes others even know something more about the area or object. Isn't that a wonderful thing to happen!

But how do you document your valuables and your family heirlooms so you can share them with other family members? Even when there is a family heirloom that is not physically with you how do you document that?

Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogical Society is lucky that it has among its members Glenda Gardner Lloyd who teaches us from the basics through very complex family searches. Yes we are lucky to have her and for her to be so open and willing to share her knowledge. So she has tried to hammer into our habits to document what we have for you and for future family members. Makes sense.

As you may recall that Marie PHILLIPS has taken Glenda's (GARDNER LLOYD) teachings  seriously. She has her binders with photo and documentation of each item she has in her possession and also items that are located at other family member homes. AND it seems to work. Excellent job Marie. I have taken photos of a few of her pages, trying to give you an idea of all the different types of items can be documented.

I would think that the best place to start would be to create a template to use for all types of heirlooms, and family pieces, clothing, art work including childrens art work etc. Now you need to decide how you will take the photographs of your pieces if they are not photographed already. Will you use a smart/iphone or a scanner or a camera. Are you going to keep a physical hands on binder or will you keep this all on your computer.



Make a template of the page that you will use for each item. My way would be to create it on the computer using WORD or EXCEL. Most of the newer versions allow you to create an interactive template or page. Include a space for the photograph (which would probably be the largest area) , and then the name of the item, date of the photograph, description of item, size of item, date of creation - even it a range of years, materials used. method of construction, special markings, who first owned this heirloom and how did it come to you, special stories and traditions, who currently owns this item, research sources. Of course you could always use one page for the photograph (s) itself and then the second page for all the information and then include both back to back in a page protector. Also in order to locate all the items after the project has been included on a template is numbering it with a table of context (index) so you will be able to locate the item quickly.

You could make this a physical binder with paper and page protectors OR it can be a digital binder. You can make a template that you are able to fill in on your computer, attach a photo and add all information necessary.

What a fabulous job Marie has done!!  and a whole binder or two or more. I would 'kill' for just the pictures of the ancestors. What a great way to preserve your heirlooms or anything else.

Thinking about this whole process....... you could do this process for a home inventory, auto tools, gardening items, children's artwork, wall hangings or framed photographs, collections of any type, family recipes, books etc. You can see how important this template could be to develop. It would be a wonderful gift for you and your family and future family members.

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