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July 5, 2017

Another Rescued Piece of Someone's Life

Recently my mother-in-law passed on a huge batch of photos, documents and miscellaneous items to us.

These items (including a wedding dress from 1943) appear to have come down through the generations from my husband's great-grandmother Mary Louisa Facey (1882-1973). Mary married William Elgie in 1904.

One small album has Mary's name in the inside cover. But this batch of miscellaneous items  came from Mary's daughter Florence Hooper. After Florence died many of her family papers went to her niece Roberta, my mother-in-law's cousin.

The items may go back more generations; I won't know until I do an inventory. I did spot some photos of Mary's parents and grandparents so it's going to be fun going through everything.

I've only had a quick glance - to be honest, the sheer number of items is overwhelming - but I did spot photos taken in the 1920s. At this point I have not decided whether or not to just jump in with the one photo album (top right of the image on the left) or do a complete inventory first. If I start with that photo album I can begin publishing the photos here on Olive Tree Genealogy blog. The few photos I removed out of curiousity are all identified on the back. What a treasure trove!

So dear readers, what do you think? Should I dive in or should I methodically inventory each item first? And what on earth do we do with that 1943 wedding dress? Hubs wanted to take it to a seamstress and have little drawstring bags or cushion covers made from it. I would rather donate it to our local theatre group. Let me know what you think!


Geolover said...

Wonderful treasure! Inventory first, the album with annotation about order of items.

Wendy Callahan said...

Wow, what a wonderful gift to receive and such an awesome responsibility. I agree with inventorying item by item. I bet you will find some interesting stuff in there.

I'm sure there's someone who will value the wedding dress as a whole. Vintage clothing is very much in demand, after all.

Anonymous said...

What a treasure! I would start with the photo album, then the rest. The wedding dress could be donated to a museum

Anonymous said...

I do both. Grab bag one day and then methodically work through a box another day. If the Wedding dress came from a small town the local Historical museum or library might be interested. After finding three Wedding invitations in a box I added two more to have five generations of Wedding Invites all in one album. My inherited collection includes 1943 Income tax forms, Letters from WW II and postcards from WWI. I am still sorting through the unlabeled pictures and trying to match them to the identified people. In a few cases I have found the same photo in three different boxes. A dog eared labeled copy and two unlabeled in pristine shape.

Anonymous said...

On something like this I sort first the loose photos by person and/ or family groups, before trying to inventory the items. Acid free archival file folders, the hanging ones work best in the milk crate type file box. This works well so one can clear the dinner table for meals easily. All other papers can be sorted like wise. Have fun. Janice Healy

Susan Cronk said...

I would recommend donating the dress to your local museum who can use it or displays. It may be too fragile to be worn in theater productions. Depending on the designer, if it was not hand made, it may appeal to a collector who would treasure it.

As for some photos, not of family, I would recommend scanning them for yourself and passing the originals on to the historical societies in the state or county where the pictures were taken. That is what I did with some of my great aunt's photos. She had photos of events that took place going back as far as the 20s and 30s, parades, or special gatherings in the places she lived along the West Coast, but that don't have a sentimental value to me. They provide a specific record of that point in history and can be used in their outreach efforts to teach about a state or county's history.

Still, I would inventory everything and then, if you donate them, note when and to whom they were given.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Susan, great idea about donating the dress to a museum. I have not yet taken a good look at it to see what kind of shape it is in.

We always scan and then donate the original photos to whatever museum is connected to the family and had already planned to donate the album and other miscellaneous photos to St. Mary's Museum in Ontario.

My quandry was how to start the process - and I ended up being too impatient/eager to see what was there to inventory first then scan. So I started with the album and scanned it.

Now to the next stage!

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Geolover & Wendy - I was too impatient! I recorded the blue album, then scanned it and am publishing it online page by page. I went the way Anonymous suggested :-)