Genealogy jewelry

familytreenecklaceWhen I was at the Genealogy Society of Southern Illinois conference in August, one of the vendors was Fun Stuff for Genealogists, which was selling some genealogy-related jewelry. None of their wares really grabbed me, but perhaps I had them in the back of my mind when I came across the family tree necklace from Lisa Leonard Designs. Lisa Leonard specializes in personalized, hand-stamped jewelry.

The family tree necklace seems to be intended to be customized with the names of the wearer’s children. But when I saw it, I thought how great it would be to personalize it with my grandparents’ surnames. That’s my pendant in the picture. (I bought the pewter version.) It has the names adams ⋅rasco ⋅ jeffries⋅ brown stamped into it.  I wanted to be able to wear it on a longer chain, so I purchased a 30″ antique copper ball chain, along with the silver link chain that came with the necklace.

It feels like a wonderful way to honor them, as well as a great conversation starter. Just think how many genealogy buffs I’ll discover when I wear it!

Hint: If you decide you’d like one, you can sign up to receive Lisa Leonard’s newsletter and get a 15 percent off discount code.

Where are your family treasures?

Where are your family treasures?This week, I was working with a wonderful organizing client. As she gave me a tour of the storage spaces in her home, she said, “This is my most treasured possession!” And she bent down and pulled a plastic bin out from under the bed. Inside was her father’s World War II photo album, along with a few other war artifacts. The photo album had small black-and-white photos mounted onto black paper with meticulous white handwritten captions. The pages were deteriorating and some of the photos had fallen out of their mounting.

I oohed and ahhhed because it was an amazing heirloom. But I challenged her a little by saying, “Why is your most treasured possession stored under the bed in a non-archival plastic bin?” One day (soon, I hope), we will work together to get this item and some other heirlooms into safer storage.

That very same day, my mother’s cousin asked me for a photo of my grandfather for the genealogy poster he is putting together. So I rifled through the box of family photos that my mother gave me, trying to locate a good picture for him. As I did that, I realized that these photos are among my most treasured possessions, yet I am not treating them with the respect they deserve. They’re not archivally stored, nor are they organized.

When I acquired this box in December, I blogged about my plan to deal with them. But I’ve done nothing. I keep waiting for a free block of time.  should know by now that the free time is never going to materialize on its own. I have to set aside time for this project. Luckily for me, this branch of the family is having a reunion in a couple of months, so I can get some help identifying the people in these photos!

How about you? Do you have treasured inherited items that are languishing in unsafe conditions? If you need information on how to handle and store them, check out Sally Jacobs of The Practical Archivist and Denise Levenick of The Family Curator. Don’t wait for something bad to happen. Carve out some time to deal with them now.

Now’s your chance to buy the Family Archivist Survival Kit

Family Archivist Survival KitProper preservation of treasured family photographs and other historical documents is really important, as I discussed here recently. Unfortunately, it can also be a little laborious to track down the proper supplies. And it can be challenging to understand the steps that are really necessary for proper preservation.

Fortunately, there’s the Family Archivist Survival Kit, from Sally Jacobs, The Practical Archivist. Here’s the thing: Sally makes this available only in the month of October. So if you don’t order by November 4, you’ll have to wait another year.

The 2013 Family Archivist Survival Kit is actually four kits in one:

  • Loose Photo Kit
  • Documents and Ephemera Kit
  • Oversize Kit
  • Photo Rescue Kit (for salvaging photos from those horrible old-school “magnetic” adhesive photo albums)

The first three kits include appropriately sized archival boxes and archival interior folders or envelopes. All these items have passed the Photographic Activity Test (PAT). The Photo Rescue Kit includes hand-held tools (white gloves, two types of pencils and a microspatula). In addition, you get ten hours of recorded instruction from Sally’s Joy of Organizing Photos workshop and other informational goodies.

I ordered Sally’s Declutter Your Photos Like An Archivist kit a couple of months ago and am now a bona fide fan girl. A professional archivist, Sally not only knows her stuff, she understands and sympathizes with the challenges family archivists face. So her information is accessible and relevant.

I first stumbled upon Sally’s information last January and wanted to buy the Family Archivist Survival Kit at that moment. Alas, I had to wait until October and, believe me, I bought it the minute I read the email telling me the kit was available. If you’re interested, don’t delay. November 4 is the last day to buy one.

Photo of the Family Archivist Survival Kit courtesy of Sally Jacobs, The Practical Archivist.