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Monday, November 9, 2009

Recording Our Past

I have mementos of my family as I am sure all of you do. I have found a way for me to keep a record of them. It is important, because sometimes people forget if things are not written down.

I am in the process of taking pictures of my family items that I don't want my children or grandchildren (whenever they may come) to ever get rid of.

Things such as the old rolling pin, pie pan, mixing bowl and biscuit cutters that Mom gave me to use after I was married. . .

Charley's dad's aluminum lunch box that he used when he worked at Carbide a long time ago. . .

A lot of us are not fortunate enough to have items from our distant ancestors. Items you record can be mementos from your childhood days or your childrens' childhood days.

I am downloading the pictures to my desktop and then copying them into microsoft word and writing beneath each picture what they are, who they originally belonged to and any history I might know about each item.

When I am finished, I will print off the pages and put them into a notebook devoted to this project. I have titled mine, MEMORIES OF OUR PAST.

Here is the type of notebook that works very well for this project. It is a 3 ring binder that has a plastic sleeve on the front of it. You could run off the title page and slip it into the sleeve. You can buy these in all sizes.

Print your pages, punch holes and put them into the notebook.

You think you will always remember, but take my word for it. . . people forget!

Do this so items you want to keep, and are a part of your family, do not get accidentally donated, thrown away or sold at a yard sale in the future. If this information gets recorded along with the pictures, it can keep something like that from happening.

I hope maybe I have given you an idea as to what you can do to keep track of your family mementos.

This is the first of a series of posts I will be doing about Recording Our Past.

I have posted a poem here about growing up in Appalachia. If you want, go read about where I am From. . .


  1. Love your idea! I've been wondering what I could do about some of these items. Between my mother and I , we do have some of those really old items from our ancestors back in in the 1800's. Thanks for sharing your wonderful idea.

  2. I agree, that's a good idea but it looks like a lot of work.LOL

  3. I think like you do Janet, but not all my siblings thought the same way. My oldest brother, for example, tossed a lot of things when cleaning out my parents' home, things like letters, etc that some of us would have kept. To him, they weren't important and he sees no reason to remember the past.

    I've met others like him. Some see it as old junk, or see it as taking up a lot of space that they can't spare. What is a valuable keepsake to me because I knew the people who used/owned it might mean nothing to someone who never knew them. So I've reconciled myself to the fact that some things I love or that were passed down may not make it to the next generations. Or they may sell them. Or junk them. What matters to me is that I love and keep them now in my lifetime. When I'm gone it will be up to them to do as they see fit.

    That's where a notebook like you're making will come in vvery handy. They will see the history and make the determination as to whether or not the items are something they want to keep and pass down, or it it's time to let them go.

    I am giving some things to them now, things I know they would like to have and would use. I'm almost 60 and plan to be around a while! Since I had my sons when I was so young, they'll be old men before they inherit. So it's better to let them have things now while they have some years to enjoy them :-)

    Good post, thought-provoking. It reminds me of what I wrote for Two-Lane livin' recently about the items we bought at a yard sale.

  4. Great idea and I bet it takes some time to download all those photos. It would take 4-ever with my dial up service.
    The recipe for crescent rolls sounds very yummy.
    Deb :)

  5. A terrific idea Janet - I like it a lot. I love those notebooks too. I used them when I taught and also for my geneology papers.
    Great post!

  6. Janet, I clicked thru and read your poem. I definitely agree that it is a keeper! It is one to re-read and savor. The memento photo notebook is a good idea. I sometimes feel sad when I think about all the special pieces I have from Mother and Grandma and my DH's family. None of our children are interested in such. I am using and enjoying all of these things now, realizing that they are of greatest value to me. I'll be following your progress with recording your family story.

  7. Good idea. I don't have much from my ancestors. But I cherish what I have. I have a small crock that belonged to my dad's mother. I use it to hold my wooden spoons and spatula's by the stove. I have my Mom's mother's larger crock that she used to make salty pickles, and my mom always used it for that when I was a child. My mom gave these two items to me approx. 20 yrs. ago. She must have known that I would keep and cherish them.

  8. Great idea! I will have to follow through with this one, too.
    I came up with an idea, but I don't know if I will be able to follow through with it. But you or one of your readers may. Find a picture of your ancestors holding something that is still with someone in the family. Take pictures of each family member holding it and make a photo album of those pictures.

  9. Janet-what a wonderful idea. In many cases we never think to ask our parents about things-or to tell our children either. I'm going to pass this along to folks I know-great tip!


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