“It’s old, and I don’t really have anywhere to put it… maybe we should give it to Yvette for safekeeping.”

My name is Yvette, and I am the curator of my family’s personal heritage. That means I have a lot of stuff: photos, official documents, letters, notebooks, cassette tapes, handmade heirlooms and trinkets, etc. I have also made it my responsibility to preserve and share old family stories that bring meaning to the stuff.

Though most of the stuff has little intrinsic value, I interpret its worth based on how the physical artifacts connect me to my ancestors and my living relatives. Some of the stuff has historical significance, some of it gives me an insight into the life-altering events or daily lives of my ancestors, and some of it just plain fascinates me.  I am working to preserve the stuff both physically (using archival-safe storage methods) and digitally (to more easily share with my extended family).

What really interests me, and what I hope to share on this blog, are the stories that surround the stuff.

I know the stories behind some of the objects or can gather enough evidence to make educated guesses, but some things are shrouded in time-sealed mysteries that I will probably never fully understand. Why did my great-grandmother clip and keep a particular poem in her scrapbook? What significance did this metal spinning top have to my great-grandfather? Who was buried in 1906 at the site for which I have an anonymous burial card? Who the HECK are those people in that photograph?

In addition to sharing stories based on the stuff, I have started doing more genealogical research and want to keep an easy-to-share record of what I learn or attempt to learn. I’m already up to my eyeballs in paper, so digital is the way to go. Besides, this will make it a lot easier to connect with distant cousins who could be holding some missing puzzle pieces!

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