What are the family history treasures of the future?


12 June 2023
Could today’s half-forgotten mementoes be heirlooms that our own descendants might treasure?

Natasha Ellakirk shares her thoughts on how we can plan for the questions our own descendants might ask about us one day…

A great article by Keith Gregson in June Family Tree magazine highlighted the importance of documenting our own lives for the benefit of our descendants. This has been preying on my mind a lot lately as I have been trying to learn a little more about the lives of my paternal grandparents, both sadly now deceased.

I have been writing to relatives who knew them with questions, but the few responses I have received are frustratingly vague. In many cases they admit they had never asked these questions themselves, or, my favourite response, “There’s not much to tell really”. I’ve had more luck with my maternal line. A letter I put out in a local history society magazine requesting memories proved much more fruitful. Sometimes friends and neighbours are more knowledgeable than relatives!

Shortly after my daughter was born, both my parents had health scares, which prompted me to gift them both some memory books with prompt questions that they could fill in. This got my mind racing about all the things I am curious about from their early lives, and I made a list of questions. No doubt my daughter will have the same questions for me one day. I’m trying to tackle them now before I forget things. It also made me wonder what objects of mine she'll find of interest in the future. Maybe my old Brownie sash covered in badges, or my old dancing medals that haven’t seen daylight in decades.

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