Heirloom Documentation is the compilation of stories about possessions that hold memories. Typically, they are sentimental in nature. Writing stories about household possessions is also a great way to document an item for insurance purposes or to be used in estate planning.

A friend recently told us that whenever she is gifted a piece of jewelry or purchases something of value on vacation she photographs it and writes a story about its history and what it means to her. If she’s worn it on special occasions, she makes a note. She scans receipts, too, and ¬†includes them with the story that she prints out. Tucked into her private papers is a binder filled with stories and photos. Somewhere on the cloud she parks a backup. She explained that she knows it will be easier for her family to distribute someday.The memories are what they’ll hold on to. If something is sold or given away, she records it in the binder.

This is a great way to begin writing life stories when you’re not certain how much you want to write and where you’d like to get started. You can also write in small chunks of time. It’s a fun way to infuse personal stories into genealogy research.

Do you have the pocket watch worn by your great, great grandfather? Do you have a military award given to your uncle for his time in service. Or your mother’s favorite teapot? Or your first record? Is there something you can write about that helps to illustrate the lives your family lived?


Check out two examples of Heirloom Documentation on our Gallery page: Click here.