The Heirloom Geneameme

It’s geneameme time, but I can’t take any credit for this one as it began by me sharing post from The Family Curator blog, on “Top 5 Family Heirlooms They Actually Want to Inherit” … if you haven’t read it, take a moment to do so, as it’s a great post. Anyway a comment on that from fellow geneablogger Jen of the Conversations with Grandma blog said …

An idea for a Geneameme Alona? “Five heirlooms in my family”? Or similar.”

So wallah … we have a new geneameme.

For the “Heirloom Geneameme” simply pick 5 of your family heirlooms, and write a post about them. Sounds easy? I found it harder than I expected.

Well firstly let’s define what an heirloom is. The dictionary says it’s “a valuable object that has belonged to a family for several generations.”

Now those who’ve been following me for a while, will know that one side of my family are hoarders. But in the good ‘everything is an heirloom sense’, not in the ‘junk piled to the ceiling sense’, so we have a house FULL of heirlooms. The other side  of my family … well, we have a couple of photos. Anyway having so many, certainly makes it challenging to choose … and I changed my mind about fifty two times (before, during and even after writing this). But here are five of my family’s heirlooms (in no particular order) …

This bible was owned by my great grandparents Ella Alice Sinkinson and John Beavis ‘JB’ Randell who married in 1899. It is huge, it is heavy (I’d guess about 15kgs), and is starting to fall apart … so great care is needed when handling it. The publication date of the bible is 1881, but going by the handwriting I’d say the bible was either obtained in the 1910s-1920s, or else they had it earlier, and just didn’t write it it until later. As far as family bible’s go, we’re fortunate that they actually filled it in AND even added in some photos (though sadly we don’t know who they all are). For more on the Randell Family Bible, click here.

the giant Randell family bible

and here’s me photographing it (as you do)

the Births page in the bible

My grandma (Evelyn Randell) was one of the many thousands who were war bride. My grandpa (Cec Hannaford) signed up to fight in WW2 and In May 1941, when he had a few days leave, they got married, before he headed back to the barracks for more training, and headed overseas shortly afterwards. While I don’t have my grandma’s wedding dress … I do have one of her bridesmaid’s dresses. And since times were tough, and everything was being rationed and clothing was shared – it’s surprising that we even have that. I’m pretty sure this would have been belonged to her sister (Dorothy Randell), the one second from the left in the photo below … and boy she was a stick. I’m not large, but there’s no way I can fit into this dress … not without forcefully giving it new seams in the process. Anyway we found someone of similar stature, who was happy to ‘model’ it for us. The dress is starting to show its age, but being 76 years old – it really is in pretty good condition. I wrote about Evelyn and Cec’s wedding here.

the whole wedding party, 31 May 1941

the bridesmaid dress in 2017

I don’t know about you, but I love looking in boxes and containers, and albums and everything … you just never know what you’ll find. And I must say there have been many surprises. However probably none quite as much as finding old tattered looking tin (“treasure tin” as I call it), that belonged to Phebe Randell (nee Robbins) – my great great grandma. This tin is choc full of letters, cards, some photos, store receipts, newspaper cuttings etc … in other words, lots of ephemera, and much of it is from the 1860s-1870s.

I’ll admit I still haven’t read all the letters, but there is one fascinating one from her brother who was on a voyage to the Northern Territory, to look for a suitable place the for the capital – and it wasn’t going to be Darwin. You can read more about that here.

So I need to make time, to go through each and every item. Document them all, as well as scanning them of course. So who knows what else I’ll discover in these letters. Fun times ahead!

Phebe’s treasure tin

this is some of what’s in the tin

letter from Gumeracha (Gumeracka) dated 16 September 1865

more ephemera from the tin

Another heirloom that my family has, is a bible. Actually to be perfectly honest, as many of my relatives were ‘godly’ folk, we have many bibles. However this one was special, as it was also a wedding present. Born in Ireland, Robert McCullough studied to be a minister at Charles Spurgeon’s “Pastor’s College” in London, and then emigrated to Australia in 1879 where he ministered at Fitzroy, Victoria, and then subsequently Longford and Hobart in Tasmania, and the Mount Barker, in South Australia. Eva Richardson was said to have been his first convert, and who became his wife on 18 May 1881.

So this bible is a real treasure. Without the inscription this bible would be ‘just an old bible’. With it, I now know that my great great grandpa, the Reverend Robert McCullough gave this bible to his wife Eva Richardson on their wedding day back in May 1881, and doesn’t that make it so much more special.

it really is an ordinary looking bible – albeit well used

and inside

ooh an inscription …

Robert’s inscription in Eva’s bible

The photo below is one of my great grandpa (Otto Winter), and is from the side of my family that has very few heirlooms, which I guess is partly why it is a real treasure. Otto was born in Finland, but left as he refused to join the Russian army which was compulsory at the time. After sailing the world on merchant ships for a number of years, he jumped ship in Australia he became naturalised, and when the call for men to join the war was issued, he signed up and fought as an Australian soldier. For more on Otto Winter click here. He was injured, but survived, and even signed up for WW2 when that began.

Otto joined the Australian Army in 1916

So why not take part in this geneameme, and share some of your family’s heirlooms.

And thanks again to Denise and Jen for providing the inspiration.

6 Responses to “The Heirloom Geneameme”

  1. What a great meme and fabulous post! You have some wonderful treasures. I have my own version of your Treasure Tin, and the best part is that I never seem to finish processing the contents. There’s always something new to discover.

    Thanks for catching the ball and passing it along. Now you’ve got me thinking about my five favorite heirlooms for a follow-up post.

  2. I love your heirlooms. Thank you for proposing this geneameme. My post will go up during the week.

  3. GenieJen says:

    You are the Queen of heirlooms. Not many families have such a treasure trove as do your family. Will think about a post after Xmas but it won’t be much compared to your amazing collection.

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