In one of my other guises, I am a keen family historian. I am the [self-appointed] genealogist in my family and have been steadily compiling information for a number years.
Although this blog focuses on the mid century, I am also interested in most other periods of history, and am eager to apply what I learn about those time periods to the names and dates in my family tree. Unfortunately, I don't have too many heirlooms or even photos for that matter. My father's cousin kindly photocopied loads of family photos for me a few years ago and I have treasured them. My grandmother says she threw away her family photos because she didn't think anyone would be interested (!!) BUT I do have a sampler made by my 2nd great grandmother.
I absolutely treasure and cherish this sampler and look at it in amazement from time to time wondering about the setting and conditions little Augusta (aged 12 at the time) was in when she created it. How long did it take her? Did mother force her to do it in the hopes of a better husband in the future? Would she rather be out playing?
I also have some gold jewellery from my mother's grandmother, or at least will have when my mother passes them on to me (She is wearing them in the photo on the right).
My husband has been given his grandfather's war medals and badges (as well as a medal of his great uncle) and we keep them in a safe place until we can display them appropriately. His mother is in possession of a handmade peg - the hands in question being those of his gypsy great grandmother.
I list these items because I would NEVER sell them.
Not everyone feels this way, I understand but I get really upset when I see people completely disregard their family treasures and cash it in for what seems only a tiny percentage of what it is worth. If not for them, perhaps for their future descendants.
Just today a family, who I must say did not appear in dire financial need, featured on the programme 'Car Booty'. Oooh, a sampler! How old? Been in the family 150 years. Should only fetch about 80 quid... SELL IT!
Oooh, a family newspaper in wartime. Your father passed it into your hands you say? Surely, you won't want to sell this? Oh, you do! ... SELL THEM!
Or in another programme, 'Cash in the Attic' - Oooh some war medals. Your grandfather earned them for going through what must have been sheer hell and devastation. Let's put an estimate of £15 on them so your mum can buy a boat... SELL THEM!
£15 measly pounds. Imagine what that man must have gone through to get those medals for years. All these people had to do was opt for cheaper brands during that week's grocery shop.
I implore you, people, before you sell off family heirlooms (or even worse, discard them) PLEASE consider how much value they may have to future generations of your family. Surely, you can find another way to make that extra cash?
A sampler made by my 2nd great grandmother, Augusta Wreford, when she was 12.
If you are interested in genealogy, you may like to check out my other (much neglected) blog - Geneageek.