Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lost and Found

Imagine this for a moment. You move into a new home and deep back in the darkest corner of the closet is a box. Inside is an entire family's history. Letters, photos and more. What would you do? Now imagine you found this box 40 or more years ago. Before Google search or Facebook. This is exactly what happened to my grandmother many years ago. After some futile phone searches she placed the box aside.

Some time after my mom became keeper of the box. She searched through the papers and names and found a family tree starting to form. The problem was that the names and family members were from the early 1900's. No living relatives were around from the most recent name in the box: Bess. So again the box was put aside.

During a recent trip to my moms house the photos came up as part of discussion with my new fascination with vintage ephemera. Little did I know my mom was sitting on a golden treasure trove of fabulous history. I convinced her to let me take them home to see if I could maybe find their ancestors. So now I am the keeper of the box and all its untold stories. Inside are hundreds of photos, some so old they are printed on tin. There are letters and newspaper articles and songs handwritten on fragile paper. If they were my family treasures I know I would want to hold on to them. The miracle here is that there are names written on many of the photos along with dates and sometimes even locations. How often do we bother to do that these days? Let alone print off our own photos. Our heritage is fading into the digital world and that saddens me.

My mother in law is an excellent genealogist. She has been working on her family's history for years. So in hopes I finding a quick solution I turned to her for assistance. Amazingly she found connections to some of the names within days on her ancestry site. Now all we have to do is contact them and hope they respond.

Hoping that soon someone treasures these as much as I have in the very short time they have been in my possession.


  1. Oh how I love this story! I am obsessed with genealogy and love old photos. xo

  2. What a treasure you found, and what a beautiful story you told about it. It makes me think about what our photos and letters (emails? instagram records?) will look like to our children and grandchildren if they find them long after we are gone.

  3. have you seen Amelie...? If not, you must watch it. you will love it! It is a beautiful story ... part of the film's story is similar to what you have just described. oh i can't wait to hear what happens. maybe even think about recording or filming the call when you do contact the family. how beautiful! xo

  4. Jojo - I have not seen that movie. I will add it to the queue! xoxo


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