|Grandpa Fuller's engraved Gold Pocket Watch from 1914|
Given by his parents on his 21st birthday
before leaving England to settle in Canada
My hope is that one or more of my children or grandchildren will keep them safe and continue passing them down to the next generation. I've considered giving each family member one treasure to keep safe.
I've also mulled over passing all of the items on to one person for safekeeping. Dilemma #1 - who will get what treasure? And #2 - should I give them now or write out a note explaining who gets what after I'm gone?
I can see a wife looking at it and asking why they are keeping it. Without some paper record, I suspect my sons would shrug a shoulder and say "Geez I dunno, Mom said it was one of her relatives but I don't remember who" Bingo - a label of 25 cents is put on it and it goes out to the front yard.
So I added another dilemma to the mix - #3 how to document the provenance of each family heirloom so that it stays with the specific item
That makes 3 dilemmas I need to solve:
- Who will get what treasure? Do I split them up or give them all to one person?
- Should I give them now or write out a note explaining who gets what after I'm gone?
- How do I document the provenance of each family heirloom so that it remains with the item
Here are some of my solutions. Nothing strikes me as the perfect answer but so far these are the best methods I've come up with
1. I've attached labels to many items. The labels indicate who is to have the item after my demise and there is a brief bio of who owned it. There is no info as to when and how I ended up with said item due to space limitations. Some items such as my Grandpa Fuller's gold pocket watch don't lend themselves to having a label affixed!
2. I've inventoried all my family treasures. I took photos then inserted them into WORD and then typed up an explanation of the item, the original owner (with some family tree info), who gave it to me and when. Beside each item I've put the name of who I want to have it (if I've decided!) I printed all the pages off and bound them as a coil bound booklet for my executors. My hope is that as an item is given, the page(s) that apply to it will be torn out and passed on with the item
3. I've tried some online methods including a nice little iPhone app called Heirlooms. But they aren't exactly what I am looking for
4. I've written blog posts about some of my family heirlooms and I am thinking about creating a Shutterfly book with each of these blog posts, then giving one copy to each of my children. So far this is the idea I'm liking the best! Here are a few of the heirlooms I've written about:
A 1913 Fireplace Screen's Long Journey