Geneabloggers daily prompt is for Thankful Thursday and that got me to thinking about what I am thankful for in my research. There are many thankful roads I could have traveled but for this post I settled on the Family Antiquities road. I can recall as a young boy sitting with my paternal grandfather and having him show me a hand-drawn family tree that outlined the generations that had collectively resulted in, well, me. I remember understanding that this document was important by the way that my grandfather handled it, I was too young to understand the information and what it all actually meant though it was clear that it was an important document to our family.
I have that original document in my collection today and it is a clear and vital link to my past. Once it became evident that I was taking an interest in our family history I became the collection point for many family artifacts. When my grandmother was moved into an assisted living arrangement we found boxes of old photographs, newspaper clippings, funeral cards, all the things that genealogists salivate for, amongst the stacks of birthday polaroids and old photo albums.
Within that collection I also found some old documents, some very old and in Old German script that had obviously been written with a fountain pen or quill. As I pieced this collection of documents together, I refer to them now as our Family Antiquities, they began to tell the story of my paternal ancestor that emigrated from Bavaria in 1849. It is interesting that my family collected and preserved these documents and not others. Martin Voelker was my ggg-grandfather and I have a several original documents that provide insight into his life. I have some photos but otherwise relatively little for his son Adam who was my gg-grandfather.
Being presented those original documents, in their cryptic Old German, definitely helped to push me down the genealogy path, to peak my curiosity and desire to understand more about who these people were, what they were like, and how they helped to shape our family. For my ancestors who viewed these documents as valuable for future generations I am eternally thankful. For Martin’s desire to keep some record of his ancestral home in Sailauf, Bavaria, I am thankful. For Martin’s son Adam and his son Conrad who followed through in the preservation of these artifacts that grow more valuable with each passing generation, I am thankful.
I have made scans of Martin’s original documents and house them in the Antiquities Archive on this site. I am thankful for having this connection and for those that have preserved and I am honored to join them in keeping this tradition intact. Has your research led to your own antiquities archive?