Genealogy activity - Step 1 of 3 in the "My Family! My Story!" series

Provided by the Victoria Genealogical Society (VGS), Victoria, BC, Canada


Heirlooms are things which have importance for a family because they have a connection to someone or some event in the past. They tell us interesting things about the lives of our ancestors. By studying the objects the family has chosen to keep, the genealogist can often learn additional and unique information about the family's history.

The project is set up as a presentation of the object and an oral report discussing it, but it could also be done as a written project. Genealogists sometimes make an inventory of family objects with photos and a history of the object to pass on to family members.

Pieces of furniture or household items such as china or silver may appear in family photos and will give an idea of who owned the object and a bit of its history. Clothing, such as a wedding dress, may be seen in a photo. These additional photos can be included in the report. Early types of sporting equipment could be very interesting.

Tools may give information about the occupations of ancestors. Diaries may tell stories about the everyday lives of families. Some household items may have come from the country of origin of the family and will give information about their life there. Family recipes can be an interesting and important part of a family’s heritage and could be presented with the utensils or dishes used to prepare and serve them.

There are an unlimited number of things that can be considered to be heirlooms or keepsakes. They don’t necessarily have to be valuable in themselves, but be of value to the family.



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