Saturday, August 19, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: A Family Heirloom

This week for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, Randy Seaver is following up on another question on the Family History Hound's list.

Your mission this week, should you decide to accept it, is:

(1) The Family History Hound listed 20 Questions about Your Ancestor, and I'm going to use some of them in the next few months.

(2) Please answer the question, "
What heirloom do you have that has been handed down through the generations?" 

(3) Write your own blog post, make a comment on this post, or post your answer on Facebook or Google+.  Please leave a link to your answer in comments on this post.

I'm a little short on heirlooms in my family.  On my father's side, my grandfather's father died young and the family was poor.  (In fact, my great-grandfather's mother paid for the funeral.)  If there were any heirlooms or family items, I haven't heard about them.  My grandmother's family were farmers in southern New Jersey, again without a lot of money.  Perhaps there was a family bible on one side, but if so it went to a different line in the family.

My mother's grandparents on both sides came to the United States as poor immigrants with not much more than the clothes on their backs.  I don't know of any significant items they brought with them from Europe.  That said, the closest thing I can describe as an "heirloom" is the set of silver-plated flatware that my great-grandmother Sarah Libby (Brainin) Gordon owned.

Definitely obtained here in the United States, it's a service for twelve in one of those cases that has cut-outs where you stack the forks, spoons, and some serving implements and bands on the inside of the lid where you slide the knives.  My mother kept it, apparently for several years, and gave it to me before she passed away.  She's the one who told me it belonged to my great-grandmother.  I believe my grandmother held the set for a while before giving it to my mother,

The utensils don't have a monogram or family initial and the set isn't anything really fancy, but I guess I'm now the fourth generation to have it.  I used the set every year when I held my annual Passover seder (dinner), for about thirteen years or so, but I haven't been able to do that for the past four or five years.  I'm hoping to be able to start again next year.

I don't have any description of the history of the flatware in the box to explain that this is a family item.  I should print a copy of this blog post and include it to document the history,


  1. Oh, how nice to have a special set of silverware for your seders. Do put a copy of this post with them to document the history. I need to do that with some other items, too.

    1. I hadn't thought about the fact that the silverware has no documentation until reading your and Randy's posts. Both of you have items with written notes. I figured the blog post would qualify as my documentation.

  2. My father passed on many from 19th century including ahavdalah box, Meissner China pieces, game box with many games, also horse riding spur worn by Emperor Franz Joseph who's murder started WWI. My parents were interned on Isle of Man by British as enemy aliens. My mother kept my fathers letters to her as they were in separate camps. Have family photos from 19th century.

    1. You are fortunate to have so many items from your family's history. I hadn't thought about photos, but I do have a few from the 19th century.


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