Saturday, February 27, 2016

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: What Did You Collect as a Youth?

This week's installment of Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun asks us to reminisce about our youthful collecting habits:

1)   Most of us collect dead ancestors and relatives now What did you collect when you were a child or teenager, or adult?

2)  Tell us about your collections in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, or in a Facebook or Google+ post.

The only thing I remember collecting before my family moved to Australia is dolls.  While most of the dolls I had were Barbie and other Mattel models, I also had a few vintage dolls.  I dragged them from California to Australia and then to Florida and back to California.  I used to make clothes for them, both sewn and knitted.  And yes, I still have them all.

I think I started collecting stamps while we were living in Australia, though I'm not entirely sure.  I might have started in California.  My grandfather used to own a stamp and coin store, and as I recall he started me off with several common stamps and a collecting book.  I remember having the stamps in Australia, and I brought them back to the States with me also.  One of my "themes" for collecting was trying to get stamps from as many different countries as possible.  I continued to collect stamps even into my first couple of years of college.  I finally sold my collection when I moved to the San Francisco area.

I believe I started my playing card collection while I lived in Australia, because one of the decks I have from there is an old game called Chook Chook, which is a resource game based on making as much money as possible from the eggs your hens lay.  (And I am stunned to learn that there is actually an entry for Chook Chook on Board Game Geek. I didn't know the game dated back to the 1920's.  I don't think my deck is that old.)  I still collect playing cards, and that's the most common gift I receive from my father and brother for my birthday and Christmas.  I must have several hundred decks.  Most are advertising for airlines or casinos.

In Florida, I began my collection of dice.  That started when I was playing Dungeons & Dragons and became fascinated with the different polyhedral dice used in the game.  Along with several different colors and sizes of polyedral dice, I also have lots of regular six-sided dice, including many from casinos.  Some of my dice are . . . unusual, to say the least, such as the "2-sided die" (essentially a coin) and a 7-sided die that Uncle Lou swore was balanced, but I don't know anyone who believed him.  I even have a 16-sided die that was made custom for a specific game and a 34-sided die that was created so people could randomly choose numbers for the Danish lottery.

I love maps and have always kept many relevant modern ones in the house, but when I began working at Chaosium, a small company that publishes the game Call of Cthulhu, set primarily in the 1920's, I began accumulating vintage maps.  Coincidentally, they're helpful with genealogy, also!  Nowadays I also download lots of images of vintage maps to keep for reference.

And while I did not collect baseball cards, my brother did, and I used to help him sort cards when he bought a big batch from someone.  The Topps 1972 cards had a distinctive design I can still picture in my mind.  My brother used to memorize players' statistics, and I would quiz him from the information on the backs of the cards.

I began collecting my dead relatives at the age of 13.  Like Randy, I have several thousand of those now.  I still have my original notes from when I interviewed family members.  And I also collect lots of documents, photographs, and ephemera related to my family.

I suspect collecting things is a common pastime among genealogists, as both hobbies tend to attract people with slightly (only slightly, mind you!) obsessive-compulsive personalities.


  1. I have a lot of maps, too. We still have all of the older AAA maps from before our marriage. It's cool to see how things used to be.

    1. No big surprise, a lot of mine are AAA maps also. Not the really old ones, though. I loved maps before starting in genealogy, and I love them even more now.

  2. I've never known anyone who collected dice - that is the most unusual collection in the SNGF posts, I think.


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