Monday, November 8, 2010

Objects of Our Affection: Uncovering My Family's Past, One Chair, Pistol, and Pickle Fork at a Time

Objects of Our Affection: Uncovering My Family's Past, One Chair, Pistol, and Pickle Fork at a Time by Lisa Tracy is not the typical book I read on genealogy. I normally look for resources for finding ancestors, you know where they lived, who they married, how many children they had, what they did for a living. I willingly admit the words Pickle Fork did it for me. I had to read this book.
I have in my possession a number of heirlooms handed down through the years from my mother and grandmother. They are priceless in my eyes. I have even argued with my siblings why I needed to be the person to keep these treasures!
Look around your house, see what you have collected from relatives; a bible, photo album, quilt, jewelry, or perhaps your relatives home? Have you ever wondered how your parents or grandparents or another relative came to acquire these items? Why did they cherish the quilt? Was it handmade by another relative? Could it have been a birthday present, wedding present or a baby gift? What was the significance of the present?
I was hooked by the end of the first chapter. I can tell you who gave me my heirlooms, but I really can't tell you HOW my relatives acquired them in the first place. Typical of my genealogy research when one question is answered you have three more.
The story follows the author as she deals with her mother's death and handling her estate. Heirlooms that had been acquired over one hundred years ago, from all over the world, for several of the author's grandparents and great grandparents were stationed all over the world. There was so much furniture, china, dishes, etc., that needed to be gone through. What to keep, what to sell. More importantly, where did all of it come from? The family shares their stories and memories of these heirlooms and materials items that have for so long been in their family.
The author takes us on a journey of finding connections. Finding connections through the history of the items we collect and pass down to our descendants.
As an amateur genealogist who searches for family roots I would highly recommend this book. Through this book, I've discovered that there is much more to my family genealogy than the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins I search for. The whole story includes the heirlooms I been blessed to receive--handmade quilts, the photographs, the jewelry, the books and the history and stories each holds. Happy reading!