I have a small section in my office where I keep information related to my own family’s history. On a small shelf tucked under a row of journals kept by my paternal grandmother, sits a small wooden cigar box. It has sat there for a couple of years. A few days ago I decided to peek inside.
Expecting to find office supplies, old audiocassettes or outdated business cards, I was surprised to find an old family bible, dating to 1892.
It belonged to my great grandfather and contained a handwritten record of the births of his children more than a century ago. It even had a handwritten correction to one of the notations on note paper and a pressed sprig of unknown origin.
I shouldn’t have been so surprised. Once I realized what I had, I remembered that my father had given the bible to me for safekeeping not that long ago. It’s embarrassing to admit that I’d looked right past this source of family history for practically every day for the past couple of years. It also makes me wonder what other family gems might be hiding in plain sight.
What about your house? I suspect that most of us have similar experiences where we take something important to us for granted simply because it’s always there.
Maybe you have some old high school or college yearbooks gathering dust on a shelf. As George G. Morgan points out, yearbooks are fabulous reminders of who we once were.
Or, maybe you have a recipe box handed down from a departed relative. Jane O'Riordan suggests that family history may be lurking behind that tuna casserole.