As an orphan growing up, I was not surrounded by photos of my parents or either of their families. I didn’t want that to happen with my children. More than just helping them learn about their ancestors, I wanted them to learn in a way that was more than names and dates.
It took a long time and lots of hard work, but things finally started to fall into place. I would like to share these things with you and maybe inspire you to showcase not only all the work you’ve done on your family tree but also the unique items you’ve found that tie into it.
Here is a shadow box (at left) I bought to hold my great-grandfather’s pocket watch and my great-grandmother’s cameo brooch. The items were in an old shoebox that had been packed away since my great aunt’s death in 1967. When I decided to put the items with some photos I had also found, imagine my surprise to find that the brooch in the photo was the same one I found in the shoebox!
Another find was a little bracelet (at right) that had belonged to my Great-Aunt Belle, my inspiration for doing genealogy. Her love of the hobby from 100 years ago was a great teacher as I was learning how to do it from reading her notes and letters.
My research had shown a connection to the Taft family so when in an antique store one day, I could not pass up this drawing from 1953 after the passing of Senator Robert Taft. I typed up a couple of informative paragraphs about him and how he was related to my children.
As I put up scanned photos of my ancestors, I printed their names and dates on top so my children could put a face with a name on the family tree chart! My children grew up knowing not only their ancestor’s names but their faces, too!
The children are grown up now, and I have a new house in which to try out new ideas for displaying my family history. This time, though, I’ll be thinking of my grandchildren as I plan! I have more ideas that I’d be happy to share in a future article if you’re interested. Please let me know in the comments section below.
Happy hunting and happy decorating!