What is an heirloom. When I got married twenty years ago we found ourselves integrating family, friends, and stuff. If you have two houses full of stuff and you have to fit it all into one bucket, what do you do? So we went about making some really tough decisions. We decided to keep all the family and friends.
I asked, “Are you bringing all three cats?” With my three cats and two dogs I wasn’t sure they were all going to make it. They did! She said, “Your dishes are all chipped, maybe we should just use mine.” I asked, “ What should we do with your bedroom set”. She said, “I can’t possibly get rid of any of those pieces”. I asked, “Do you want to put the area rugs over the carpeting like that?” She said, “That couch is an antique”. I asked, “Can I keep my favorite chair?” She said, “Most of the things I am bringing are heirlooms, your stuff is just junk.”
I didn’t like hearing that at all. I loved my chair. So what if the cats had clawed it up a bit. A man has the right to be comfortable in his own chair. I wonder what happened to that chair? Between you and I, what did I know about heirlooms or what was of value? I had no idea what might even be of sentimental value. As you research your family history, take the time to inventory the things you would like to pass down. Go do it now! (Not if your driving, wait till you get home.) Open you favorite word processing program and make a list of the items that may possibly have value. Take a picture and put it on the same page. List where it came from, the date, any story behind the piece, who you want it to go to, and anything else you can remember. Email the file to yourself and another family member in case your computer crashes.
I need to put in a plug for another one of my favorite tools in my tool box. Family Tree Magazine. After opening my big mouth and told you what to do about heirlooms, I thought that it would be better to organize the mess as you go. I thought I would look to see if they have any recommendations. They have a form for that, http://www.familytreemagazine.com/upload/images/pdf/artifact.pdf.