Question of the Week: What is your favorite family memento?

+12 votes
What is your favorite family memento?

After the passing of Barbara Bush earlier this week, I've seen news articles where they share excerpts of the love letters her husband wrote her during the war.  What a precious thing to have!  

I have about 20 years of letters between my grandparents which I treasure. My favorite memento though, is my grandfather's pilot log.  It notes all his training when he was in the Army Air Corps, like how the first time he flew a B-26 was on his 21st birthday, June 7th, 1944, the day after D-Day.

What are some of yours?
asked in The Tree House by Eowyn Langholf G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
reshown by Eowyn Langholf
I also have my father’s flight engineer’s log from the B-29 he was on. It is a very prized possession of mine, and I attend his squadron’s reunion. At this time only 5 WWII Veterans attend. I love you asked this question.
I have a piece of the "Duramold" glue-laminated birchwood that was used to construct the Hughes H-4 Hercules ("Spruce Goose") aircraft. It is signed and dated November 2, 1947 by flight crew member Philip Thibodeau. Mr. Thibodeau and my parents were neighbors for some years during the '70s-'80s in southern California and I suppose it was given to them as a gift.
I have my Great-Grandmother's mourning locket.  She lost her 2yr old daughter in 1906 then placed a tiny photo on one side of the locket and a lock of her hair, tied with a sliver of pink satin ribbon, on the other side.  The locket is gold and has my g-grandmothers initials on the front.
I had an assortment of embroidered items, christening gowns traycloths and tablecloths.  I had no use for them as they were, and decided to create memory quilts for my grandchildren.  The one had a sampler embroidered by my granddaughters great, great, great grandmother.  I embroidered the lineage on the back.  I imagine the loving hands of all her anscestors holding her when she is wrapped in that quilt!
I have my great grandmothers locket that was a wedding gift from my great grandfather.  My grandmothers teeth print is in the back of it where she bit it when she was a baby.  My mother was married wearing it as was I.  It is a simple piece with so much history.

We have a small portion of the straw and cloth bedding that my great-grandmother, Anna Kaiser slept on while aboard the ship that brought her to America from Germany in the1870s

38 Answers

+9 votes
Best answer

    My favorite family momento(s), are some drawing done by my GGG grandfather who did engravings for books somewhere between 1830-1860.

And I am trying to locate copies of the books that they were published in. So far I have two. ;) His name was James Harvey Hills. 

answered by
selected by Gloria Lange
+10 votes
My favorite,I have pictures of 3 paintings of my early ancestors in Wales.

That hang in The Biitish Museum of Art.The chidren all look very odd.

Likely because Royalty married 1st cousins.I have a great Grandmother

had 3 children all were deaf and dumb,likely she married a cousin.
answered by Wayne Morgan G2G6 Pilot (793k points)
+11 votes
A collection of eight Christmas cards printed by my grandfather, Harold a Oldroyd. They were etched on linoleum tiles each year from 1938. They were printed by using a wash machine ringer as a press. Black-and-white prints were sent to his friends and neighbors in Nutley New Jersey. Each year the print depicted in addition and growth of each of his four sons, dog and cat. They are now framed and bought out each Christmas to decorate the walls. My grandfather was a graphic artist turned businessman. He studied under Blumenthal and was a founder of the Philadelphia Graphic Arts Society
answered by Wayne Oldroyd G2G2 (2k points)
+9 votes
My 2 x great-grandfather was a cabinet maker in Württemberg. The family emigrated to Australia in 1888. He presented my grandparents with a pair of wooden palm stands as his wedding present to them in 1934, one of which I now have in my possession.
answered by Vivian Egan G2G6 Mach 4 (47.3k points)
+7 votes
A cultured pearl herringbone necklace!
answered by anonymous G2G Crew (410 points)
+11 votes

The gold watch that my great grandmother Clara McIntire McCleery was wearing when she ran from her burning house on Thanksgiving 1901. She died three months later of a flu type illness, so I am sure this is her only possession that remains from her life. My grandmother was only 15 at the time, and my great grandfather had it engraved to her.

answered by Alexis Nelson G2G6 Mach 1 (12.5k points)
Thank you David for selecting my answer. The watch is large and very beautiful, and it was worn on her front of her dress. I just hope that it it treasured by someone in my family as much as it is by me, and it is never melted down for the gold value. Thanks, Alexis
+10 votes
Both of my grandfathers' World War II flags. My aunt has Grandpa Hamel's medals from the Air Force. We do have the following that I like:

My great grandfather Giuseppe's clock.

My grandma Ollie's silver Christmas tree ornaments and another of her ornaments.

My grandma Hamel's Christmas angel.

We put those on the tree every Christmas. I'm not sure what else we have. I will have to ask my parents. But, the stuff I listed are pretty cool.
answered by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (185k points)
+9 votes
My favorite memento is my great grandfather's sea chest.  Its made of solid  pine boards, not spliced so they must have been from a huge tree because its about 2 feet high and wide and about four feet long.  Every time I look at it I think about how its been all around the world on a sailing ship.
answered by
+9 votes
My favorite item is my grandfather Gill's shaving mug, which has is name, Frank P. Gill, Jr., on it.


I also have my great grandfather Bell's shaving mug (my mother's paternal grandfather.


My brother has a small statue of Roger Conant who was an important person in the history of Salem, MA. Roger Conant was in Salem, MA, about 100 years before the witch trials.
answered by Frank Gill G2G Astronaut (1.8m points)
+8 votes
My maternal grandmother was born with the 'caul', sometimes called a 'shawl' or 'veil', stuck to her face (see Hardcastle-700). There is a great deal of pagan symbolism to these. I still keep it, even though we are Christian.
answered by Chris Church G2G Crew (840 points)
Very interesting! I've not heard of a 'caul' before. Learn something new every day!
My Mother was born with a caul, the midwife threw it away and Grandfather was very angry as sailors in Hull UK, would have paid good money for it as they were considered lucky
Interesting that you mention sailors, Ernie. Folklore links the caul to special protection from drowning. There are examples  of sailors advertising in the Times of London in the early 1900s offering t buy them for as much as £14-15, which would then be more than a month's average wage.
My family on both sides are from Hull for the last 2 generations, Sailors and ships engineers, so would be deeply embedded in such beliefs
+8 votes
I have the spinning wheel that my great-grandmother brought from Norway, as well as a painted box also brought from Norway.
answered by Karla Huebner G2G4 (4.8k points)
+8 votes
I have a family picture of my great grandparents from the late 1800s with all of the children. I remember my great grandmother as being old and rather shriveled, with an eye patch. It's absolutely wonderful to see her healthy and whole with her family.
answered by Gail Hardy G2G2 (3k points)
+9 votes
I have a solid rolling pin that was one of several made by my great great great grandfather from a black walnut tree on his farm near Cuero, here in Texas, in the 1850s.  He made one for each of his daughters and ours has been handed down from daughter to daughter to me (no sisters).  Others that I have tried to track down were lost in a hurricane in 1919  or were lost when a daughter died early or remarried without children of her own or the story just wasn't passed on.  At least one disappeared after one of his daughters moved back east with her family to Pennsylvania and eventually settled in the New York area.  So this one is the only one known to still be in family hands.
answered by Art Black G2G6 Mach 1 (17k points)
+9 votes
The "Hunt family bible with great grandparents marriage certificate, great grandmother's cameo set (brooch and earrings) her wedding ring.
answered by Lynette Elliott G2G Crew (470 points)
+7 votes
My favorite family memento is a silver mug engraved with my GGgrandfather's name, Covacevich. We used it for pennies when I was growing up and I didn't really know much  about him until I started doing my family tree in the 90's. It was such a departure from my staid New England family ancestors to have a Slavic immigrant to Florida in the 1840's enter my family tree. I also have a beautiful silver serving spoon and napkin ring engraved similarly.
answered by Nancy Downing G2G2 (2.1k points)
+9 votes
My grandmother died before I was born but I was close with my grandfather, who walked from his house to ours every morning for breakfast. My Mom trained me how to do the prep and serving as a child and by 8th grade I handled it myself, until I left home for college and him to a nursing home. Mom was quite particular that I use certain dishes for my Grandpa, including a little blue pitcher which was always to be filled with heated whole milk. Fast forward to 2013, Mom has died, I'm going through her things and found the little blue pitcher with a note that it was my grandmother's. I'm struck by how kind my Mom was to make sure her dad felt at home and loved every day. I now cherish this little blue pitcher and the memory of them both.
answered by Jen Drake G2G Crew (670 points)
i have several, my top favorites are my great grandmother's (my mother's mother's ) coffee grinder, my mother's handmade high chair,made by my great grandfather, and 2 pictures, one is of my great grandmother and other is my 2nd great grandmother both are in frames
+8 votes
My second great grandfather was a Metropolitan police constable in the late 1890s to early 1900s, and we still have his wooden baton and whistle (engraved with his warrant number).
answered by Gillian Wagenaar G2G6 Mach 1 (18k points)
+7 votes
My dad's WW II dog tag.  He was flight Engineer on aircraft that flew the 'Hump" (Himalayan Mountains) from India to China.  Nedzweicki-1 was the son of a Polish dairy farmer.  He went to college on the GI Bill.  He Americanized his LNAB to Nedwick.
answered by Jo Gill G2G6 Mach 6 (61.5k points)
+7 votes
We have my husbands Gt Uncle's WWI medals, three of them along with his Royal Naval Long Service and Good Conduct medal awarded in 1928.  

Within the family still are my husbands Grandfathers two WWI medals and his Machine Gun Corps uniform jacket from 1917.  Also a ceremonial Naval dress sword that was presented to his Gt Grandparents when they married in 1894, by the family of the grooms sisters husband.

Within my family there is the family bible of my 2xGt Grandparents from 1872 onwards.
answered by Brenda Butler G2G6 Mach 4 (40.5k points)
+8 votes
A ring I'm currently wearing. It only goes a few generations back (grandmother or great grandmother.) The stone crumbled and so now it's empty, but I never take it off. I might get a new stone set in it in the future.
answered by Jourdi Cleghorn G2G6 Mach 2 (26k points)

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