Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Family Heirlooms: 52 Weeks of Abundant Geneaology - Week 6.

Family Heirlooms is the latest topic from Amy at  in conjunction with Geneabloggers, in the  new series of weekly blogging prompts on the theme of  52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy.   For which family heirloom are you most thankful? How did you acquire this treasure and what does it mean to you and your family?

Do you,  like me,    gasp in amazement  at the heirlooms that have survived down generations of ordinary families, as shown on  TV's "Antique Roadshow" and  "WDYTYA", or on blog postings.  I marvel in particular at diaries, christening robes,  and artist portraits.  My heirlooms are much more mundane but still mean a great deal to me and can be summed up as stitching, paintings, and postcards,  plus  a copper kettle and teasets.

Postcards from Flanders, sent during the First World War by my grandfather William Danson to his family back home, are the most prized items in my collection of family memorabilia.  They were kept in a shoebox in the cupboard by the fire in my grandfather's house and it was a treat as a child to be allowed to look through them.  They are made more poignant by the pencilled messages from William to his wife Alice and children Edith, Kathleen, Harry and baby Billy, with a favourite phrase "I am in the pink".  They form the basis of many of my  blog postings.  See under the topic "War and Remembrance".
 I remember this copper kettle (left)  sitting in the hearth of my grandfather's house and was always led to believe  it was his mother's - my great grandmother Maria Danson, nee Rawcliffe (1859-1919).   I was abolutely  delighted when it eventually passed down to me.

 Complementing the kettle is a teaset (right) which,  according to her granddaughter, Maria acquired by collecting coupons from a newspaper offer. 

Pink seemed to be  the favoured colour for the "best" teaset and I have pieces from both my grandmother Alice  and my mother's wedding china. 

But what about the heirlooms of tomorrow?  I have the account that my father wrote of his early childhood and then his war time experiences, also wedding telegrams and most touching of all letters written between my parents during the war,  which I only disovered after their deaths.

I have  a wonderful legacy of my mother's talent  (below) as described in Kathleen Danson Happiness is Stitching.    LIkewise my Aunt Edith,  whose painting features here. in Wonderland Applique, sewn by my mother for her  granddaughter

Paining by Aunt Edith
 These heirlooms, may not be all that old (dating only from the early 20th century), but they are precious  to me and  help create a picture of my ancestors and keep them alive in my memories.  I am so pleased to have them, particularly as I have nothing from  my father's side of the family, nor does my husband of his family - such a pity! 

As for me, what am I doing to create my own heirlooms for my little granddaughter?  I like to think this includes a cross stitch sampler sewn on her birth,  a crocheted shawl (below)  and I am now busy stitching a patchwork quilt.  And of course there is the legacy of my family history writings. The past will not be forgotten!

Copyright © 2012 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

1 comment:

  1. Not a lot of gasping over ancestral heirlooms here either. Still it's not the value of the individual item but the significance of it to you. For example I don't imagine your kettle is of great financial value but it holds wonderful memories of happy times. How lovely that your granddaughter will have something special and handmade with love in her own heirloom collection.


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