Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Are you sure you have all your Ancestor's artifacts documented?

For the past several weeks I have been busy scanning documents and photos that were given to me when my paternal grandmother, Virginia, passed away earlier this year.   Theses items, are carefully scanned and documented in my genealogy.   Photos are identified and the originals transferred into a archive box.  Other documents are scanned and filled into each person's file folder.  I have a treasure trove of information from these documents.   The types of documents vary from driver's licenses, to old passports used during a trip to the orient - along with pictures from that trip to several hundred military papers documenting everyday occurrences and daily orders, to a five page resume document that my grandfather typed up sometime between 1965 and 1977 when he passed away, to Mason membership cards.  This has kept me very busy and will keep me busy for the remainder of this year and possibly into next.   It actually surprised me on how much my grandmother decided to keep, like she knew it would bring me such joy to have some of these simple everyday items.   Why did it surprise me - because my grandmother was never into genealogy.   That side of me came from my maternal side.

I have been so excited to receive and go through these partly because I have very few of these types of items from my maternal grandmother, Florence.   And she was starting to dive into genealogy a few years before she passed away.  I got into genealogy when my mother was given my grandmother's genealogy papers - I was 11-12 years old at the time and my mom although she found it kinda interesting she was never interested in expanding on what my grandmother had.  There were a few printouts and extracts from records, a few citations, but mostly it was family group sheets and pedigree charts that were filled out and filed with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a long time before FamilySearch was around.   I have a few cards and letters neatly tucked away that my grandmother kept.   But no diaries, no family bibles, no birth or death certificates.

But today I realized that I was missing a few things in my documentation.   Isn't it funny how you can be going along and then all of a sudden WHAM!   You have one of the "Well Duh..." moments.

One of these moments happened to me, while cooking dinner tonight.   I sat there stirring the ground beef that soon would be tacos for the family and it dawned on me.   I have artifacts from both of my grandmothers that really should be documented in my genealogy - at least somewhere.   Now these items are not birth certificates, or a precious family bible, or even that elusive diary.    It is a simple but very useful .... skillet.    Yes a skillet.

I have my great grandma's, Florence Bunce, cast iron skillet.   And it is still being used today.  I am at least the 4th generation to use the thing, and it will be passed down to one of my daughters when I no longer need it.    Such a simple thing, it never occurred to me to document this artifact, but yet it tells me about the women in my family who have used it countless times before me.

I got the skillet this year when my mother, Velleda, had to move into a nursing home.   She has had it since 1986 when her mother, Florence, passed away.   Florence received the skillet when her mother, Florence, passed away in 1967.   It is unknown at this point when or where she received the skillet.

This new "enlightenment" got me thinking of the other precious items that I have of my mother's, grandmothers, and grandfathers.  I have some of her most priced possessions, like her china and some of her most common possessions too, like a cane she used and of course this skillet that got me thinking outside the paper lines.

Now I have more items on my to-do list to take photos of and document.

Just remember not all artifacts of our ancestor's are paper and/or pictures.   They are also some of the simple and elegant things that they have left us too.

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