Question of the Week: What's your favorite family heirloom?

+22 votes
Some people are fortunate to have many family heirlooms, others have just one or two that they treasure.  

What about you? What's your favorite family heirloom? How come?
in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (2.0m points)
retagged by Keith Hathaway
Shouldn't this be in Treehouse, not Tech?
My piano! Dated 1895 given to me by my uncle. It was supposed to go to my cousin, but he died at age 24. Perfect working condition and a real treasure!

28 Answers

+5 votes
Best answer
My favorite heirloom is a small diamond ring. It was my paternal grandmother's, who died before I was born. When my gramps died, my father gave it to me. Twenty years later I gave it to my daughter, who uses it as her wedding ring.
by Janet Montgomery G2G Crew (890 points)
selected by Iain Cooke
+18 votes
One of my most favorite that I have is my grandfather's pilot log from when he was training in the Army Air Corps.  It's such a neat snapshot into that time in his life.  Like for example, I learned from it that the very first time he got to fly a B-26 was on his 21st birthday, 7 June 1944, the day after D-Day!  

Plus when I was a kid, I wanted to be a pilot (or an astronaut) more than just about anything so that gives me a special connection to it.
by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (2.0m points)
That sounds great, plus you have his handwriting to look at.
Yes! That too.
Interesting how many of these are related to war.
We have one of those logs for Megan's grandfather too. He was a navigator in B-29s. It was just handed down to us last Christmas.
+16 votes
I have very few, but I do have my great grandfather's dog tags from WWI.
by Living Harris G2G6 Mach 2 (20.2k points)
That's a wonderful heirloom to have.
+14 votes

On my mom's side I have a plain carved rolling pin brought from Fordingbridge, England by my fourth great grandmother, Elizabeth (Merrifield) Neave.

On my dad's side the coolest thing is the collection of letters and diaries that great grandfather James B. Wiggins wrote during the Civil War. We took them in to be digitized during the Civil War 150 Legacy Project.

by Anonymous W G2G6 Mach 6 (65.7k points)
+16 votes
I have my Fathers Bible that his Father gave to him when he went in the Army Air Corps during WWII. It has a gold metal cover and inside it says (Keep it close to your heart It will protect you in combat.)
by John Noel G2G6 Pilot (713k points)
And I see he survived.
+13 votes

I have lots of family heirlooms, from parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and some stray great aunts. Favorite? I have several "favorites." My oldest are from my great great great grandmother Lydia McCann (1824-1900) and supposedly her mother brought them with her from England. The gravy boat dates after Lydia was born (in NY), so I know her mother didn't bring it with her from England. Lydia's profile has bigger photos


by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
+13 votes
My favorite, and the only one I asked for when my brothers and I broke up my dad's stuff after he died was my Great Grandmother Frances Mahala (Knoderer) Anthony's drop-down writing desk circa 1880.  It's still in pretty good shape, though my mother did put a fluorescent light in it which involved some slight damage to the original wood.  Maybe I'll take a photo of it to upload here.
by Dave Dardinger G2G6 Pilot (411k points)
+14 votes
the only "heirloom" I have is my grandfather's football referee whistle. Apparently he used to referee league matches but I never knew him because he died before I was born.
by Gillian Causier G2G6 Pilot (263k points)
That is really awesome. My aunt has her great grandfathers glasses. Sometimes the smallest things can mean the most. I have a doily my grandmother made for me when I got married. It's a horrible color that has never matched anything, only cost about $5 to make, but you know what? I adore it and display it proudly. Also, I have a little glass jar my husbands grandmother kept cotton balls in, on her sink. Out of everything in her house, that was all I wanted. It's the simple things in life that mean a lot.
+13 votes

Like many of you here I too have a few family treasures and the one I prize most is my paternal, grandmothers, mothers bible. She was called Magarit (thats how it's spelt in the bible) NOBLE. her family were from Killycramph County Fermanagh in Ireland. 

Noble family bibleNoble family bible

by Living Vaugh G2G Crew (590 points)
That is amazing. I will inherit the Family Bible of my 2x ggm one day. Things like that are just priceless.
What beautiful writing!
+11 votes
There are too many to chose from! I love that I have furniture that both of my Grandfathers built and i use them daily in my home. I have two of my fathers water colors hanging in my office. This is an interesting question, and one that I will think on to see if one bubbles to the top of the list.

by Mags Gaulden G2G6 Pilot (586k points)
+11 votes
I have some really interesting interesting family heirlooms, like dueling pistols circa 1760, but my most cherished keepsake is my dad's Distinguished Flying Cross.
by Doug Lockwood G2G Astronaut (2.5m points)
+11 votes
My favorite family heirloom relates to Samuel Hedding Deneen, my great, great Grandfather, on my father's side.  He served in the Civil War as Adjutant for the 117th Infantry, better known as the McKendree College Illinois (now University) regiment - serving under his father-in-law, Risdon Moore.  I have his epaulets, his certificate of joining, and his medal(s).
by Chuck Deneen G2G Crew (530 points)
+11 votes
My favorite heirloom, is the family bible of one of my great great grandfather's which has a copyright date of 1848.  The bible has all the birth dates of his children, marriage dates and when the bible was handed down to my great grandfather, it records the dates of his children's births, marriages, and many dates of death.
by Carol Wilder G2G6 Mach 6 (60.5k points)
+12 votes

My favourite heirlooms are the postcards my grandfather sent to my future grandmother in World War I from Europe. He was from Australia and was billeted at her mother's cottage in Hitchin, Hertfordshire when he was wounded - which is how they met. They married one week after the war ended in 1918 and travelled back to Australia together.


by Margaret Brown G2G Crew (560 points)
+11 votes
I have a few things from both sides of my family that are special to me. The biggest is the trunk that my maternal grandparents used to bring their belongings to the US from Sweden in 1923.

I also have all of the copper teakettles my mother used to collect -- some of them are old and were passed down; others she collected from various sales here and there.

Also, my Dad just recently passed a box of old photos on to me, and I discovered several notes inside to my paternal Grandmother. I also have a couple of letters that she wrote to her parents the weekend she was getting married. Like Michael said on Eowyn's post, it's really great to see their handwriting.
by Julie Ricketts G2G6 Pilot (431k points)
I have a few favourites. The first four concern my parents. They are

my fathers medals from his WW2 service, the letters that he wrote to

my mother  and a pendant made from a fragment of the  canopy of  a

Japanese aircraft with a small gold cross  inside it. When my aunt

was married in  1940 a small double  figure of the bride and groom

was placed on the cake. It has been used in every family wedding

since , my own included. The fifth is  a small milk jug and bowel

that I think came from my great great uncles fancy goods shop .
+9 votes

I am fortunate to have the Crucifix that was blessed at the Roman Catholic Wedding 100 years ago (April 30, 1912) of my Papa Gordon Réaume-430 and my Mimi Eva Marie Reaume-427 at Assumption Church (Windsor, Essex, Ontario, Canada). They were 5th cousins once removed, both having the same last name and common ancestor Robert Joseph Réaume-422 (1668-1744).

by Deborah Collier G2G6 Mach 3 (38.1k points)
edited by Deborah Collier
+8 votes
My favorite heirloom is father's mother's matching picture album and Bible.  They look expensive leather bound and the Bible was a teaching Bible with an apocrypha for Bible study.  Sadly, she did not write anything in it and it like new with onion skin protecting the pictures.  They were found in a plastic bag in my Father's garage when we moved them to senior community.  It been placed in a bag by his oldest sister and never looked at.
The picture album is a wealth of information for an ancestry person.  I gingerly had to remove pictures to check back for any information.  I did find one picture to be her grandfather, who raised her as her mother died when she was an infant.  It was most helpful as it had his full name and birthday.   Many of the pictures are a puzzle.
by Janice Cozart G2G Crew (440 points)
+7 votes

Mine is a violin my great grandfather gave to me. It is a Stradivarius replica, which his father bought for him in Italy, sometime in the very early 1900s, I think about 1915. He paid $80 for it. He gave it to me in high school and it's never left my possession. It still plays beautifully. After he got into his 80s, became blind, and had severe arthritis, he couldn't play anymore. So, I would borrow a church hymnal and go sit with him and play whatever song he asked for. His favorite was Amazing Grace and he asked me to play it at least four times every visit. Those moments are priceless!

by Summer Orman G2G6 Mach 8 (87.9k points)
Super memory Summer.
+6 votes
Favorate documents include Civil War documents of my great grandfather Hemenway's. He was promoted to sargeant late in the war and later, as a civilain, he was a county Sheriff.

My grandfathers shaving mug and my great grandfather Koons shaving mug are also important to me.

There was a photo taken of my 3rd great grandfather, Daniel Gill, who died in 1844, not long after commercial photography became available. He had served in the British 54th Regiment of Foot during the American Revolutionary War.

Lastly, a first edition, second printing of a 1912 book, "A Journey to Ohio in 1810" by Margaret Van Horn Dwight. This was a private journal for a relative, but about 100 years later, it was decided to publish it in book form. There were no AAA motels on the way from CT to OH, most of it was taken on a covered wagon, by walking or a combination of both. Few bridges had been constructed along the way. Sometimes a wagon might not make it across a river. Hotel guests were not always well behaved.
by Frank Gill G2G Astronaut (2.3m points)
edited by Frank Gill
+6 votes

One of my favorite heirlooms is my husband's great-great-grandfather's hair vest chain, woven from great-great-grandmother's hair. It is quite lovely. She saved her hair in a 'hair receiver' at her dressing table and sent it away for weaving and had it beautifully attached to golden clasps and chains for his vest fastener.

by Linda Arenkiel G2G Crew (380 points)
That is amazing, Linda! I've never heard of that before. Very special. :-)

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