Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Family Heirlooms

Erica here:

Until I married my husband, I didn't have much of a sense of my own roots and family history. My parents both come from broken...dare I say...dysfunctional families. I knew some of my grandparents, but not well, and they didn't talk about where they came from or who their ancestors were.

And as a kid, I didn't pay much attention to that sort of stuff anyway. As I've gotten older, though, I am more curious about my forebears.

My husband's family, however, has documented it's roots back to well before the Revolutionary War. His father's family has traced it's lineage back to the 1720s in Switzerland, and his mother's family to before the Civil War in Germany.

I've delved a bit into my own history since becoming an adult, following my mother's family to it's Scots origins...Masons from Clan Sinclair and Wallaces from Strathclyde, and Pawnee from Oklahoma. According to one great aunt, we're also related to John Paul Jones of "I have not yet begun to fight" fame in there somewhere.  On my father's side, we're British of Norman decent.

Castle Sinclair Girnigoe, family seat of Clan Sinclair

I have some pictures, some documents, some letters, from my own family, and many more from my husbands. One of my treasures is a set of letters from Jakob Vetsch to his family while he was serving in the Union Army during the Civil War. They are written in German and translated into English for us.

I also have an empire style mirrored buffet in quarter-sawn red oak that once belonged to my husband's great grandmother. He remembers it sitting in his great-aunt's kitchen for decades, and when she passed, it came to us. I use it every day.

This is similar to the one I have.
Do you have a family heirloom that you treasure? That gives you a sense of time and place? Do you know its story? Do you imagine all the hands that have handled it, that have used it in everyday life?

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  1. I wish I had an heirloom! I do have a ring from my grandmother, but it isn't very old. It has a bittersweet story to it, as my grandfather abandoned her. :( However, it's beautiful and I hope to give it to my oldest daughter one day. :)

    1. That's sad about your grandfather. I have a similar situation in my family history, too. Heirlooms tell our stories, both the good and the bad. I hope your daughter treasures the link with her past when you give the ring to her. :)


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