Friday, July 06, 2007

I'm Buried in Treasures

I'm going to do the "tidy documents" thing this month too, sort of. T.K., Miriam, and footnoteMaven are already on board with a scanning/filing/logging of research information project for this month. And since I'm doing a bit of that as well, I'm going to jump on the band wagon too.

Last weekend I finished moving the rest of my share of things from my mom's house. My brother is in the process of fixing the house up now and putting it up for sale. It's been quite an ordeal to go through my mom's things and divvy them up. I got the vast majority of her things mostly because I'm the only daughter... and my brothers weren't interested in mom's jewelry, sewing stuff, kitchen utensils, clothing, etc. Not to mention that I'm the family historian so I got all the paperwork, documents, photos, recipes, keepsakes, etc. Oh, and I got most of the furnishings from her house too, some because she specified that I have them and some just because no one else wanted them. Not that I'm complaining mind you. I am in fact thrilled to have all this stuff. But now I have to find places to put it all. And that is proving to be quite a challenge.

In the beginning, I decided to catalog everything as I brought it home. I thought it would be a good thing to do to document all the things that were mom's or grandma's before they got integrated with my own things and forgotten about. I want my kids to know what came from who so that somewhere down the line should they ever get interested in the family history it will be available to them. The problem was I was bringing it home faster than I could catalog it (out of necessity). So boxes and boxes have piled up over the past couple of months (in just about every room of my house) and I've been trying to dig out ever since.

Now I'm trying to scan or photograph everything. My mom was a pack rat (depression era "saver") and I'm a pack rat too. She saved so much stuff ... and I told myself that I would just save some of the things that meant the most to me then photograph the rest of the stuff and either donate it or throw it out. But I'm finding that I just can't bring myself to throw out much of anything! And the photographing is taking longer than I thought it would. And I haven't begun to catalog or write captions for the photos :-(

I thought if I really focused on this project (the cataloging) I could get it done in a couple weeks. But now I'm thinking I'll be lucky to get it done by the end of the month. More realistically I'll be working on it up till Labor Day. And then there's the three C's that have been distracting me (new Car, new Computer, new Camera). And it's summer and the sun is shining... calling me to come out and play! There's just not enough hours in a day.

So then... while the documents and photos I'm working on cataloging aren't primarily for genealogy research, I could make a strong argument that I'm cataloging them for future family history research (and possibly book writing). So that qualifies for the "tidying documents" project doesn't it?

Oh and here's three little bits of bittersweet joy I have to share... Christmas in July, you could say. Last December I wrote a Family History Christmas List, things I wish I could have received for Christmas that you can't buy in stores. In going through my mom's things I have now received the first three items on that list. 1) I found a whole stash of my mom's best recipes. :-) 2) I now have some of my mom's Christmas ornaments to add to my own collection and even one hand made by my grandmother. My mom told me she'd given away all her ornaments but it turns out she didn't give any of them away (that was the Alzheimer's playing with her mind I guess). My brothers and I divided them up and now I have about a dozen of the ornaments we had on the Christmas tree when I was growing up. :-)) 3) I've found a picture (1) that has me with both of my parents in it. :-))) How very prophetic to have wished for these things just a few months ago when my mom was relatively healthy and now here it is just a few months later and I've received them... but only because I've lost her.

The photograph above is a picture of my mother's desk which she left to me (she inherited it from her mother). It was full of all sorts of treasures including her stash of recipes.


  1. How wonderful that you received things that mean so much to you! The desk is a beautiful piece on it's own but more so for the history it holds. Photographing all the family treasures that I have so that my grandkids will know where they came from (and why I kept them!) is something that I should add to my ever lengthening to-do list.

  2. Jasia, it's great that your family's treasures had a good home to go to. Heritage items are part of your family's history, so of course they fit right into the sorting and cataloging project. Those things bring life and character to the data on the pedigree charts, and it makes great sense to attach provenance to them before the details get forgotten. (Working them into a blog post is a great way to do that. Your mom's desk is awesome!)

    I don't know about Miriam and footnoteMaven, but the odds are my project won't get done before Labor Day either. I'm moving at the end of this month, and my original sweet dream was to have the boxes of genie papers emptied out so I don't have to move them. I hope I can get that far, at least, get things sorted to the right binders, but I doubt all the scanning and cataloging will get done before the packing and moving. The important thing is to do a little every day. Just making some progress seems to increase the motivation to go on.

    Loved the part about your wish list!

  3. Thanks for commenting Apple and T.K. And T.K., good luck with the moving thing. It's my intention to move in the next couple of years and I must say I'm dreading it. I know packing will be a nightmare but the pre-packing (sorting and trashing) will be even worse. Good luck with your project.