Earlier this week, I attended a lineage society meeting at which heirlooms were brought, displayed, and lovingly discussed by the attendees. I saw pictures of great grandpa's bed, grandparent wedding gifts, grandma's teaching certificate, old photographs, etc.
What is a heirloom? Is it valuable?
Today, the use of the word "heirloom" designates personal property, sometimes antique, that is passed down through the generations. It provides a glimpse either into the personality, the travels or the economic status of the beloved ancestor.
In old England, and according to old law, a heirloom had to be given either to a family member or left in the estate to the family. It would not have been sold out of the family.
The treasures we have most likely have little or no monetary value. Instead, seeing the treasure invokes loving memories or traditions passed down from one generation to another.
Is this valuable? If I took it to a shop, they would most likely tell me "no." However, for me, everytime I look at the lollipop box which hangs in my kitchen, I think of my mama. Not only do I think of mama, I can hear her voice and I remember so many little things about her. Tis valuable, I'd say.
So, while you genealogy buffs are scrambling around digging up the old family tree, be sure to include some great memories of the loved ones who are gone. You just might be creating a super heirloom for your kids and grandkids.
©2010 AS Eldredge