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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Entries in heirloom registry (11)


    Family Heirlooms: The Ultimate Holiday Regift

    My favorite heirloom brothers, Dan and Mike Hiestand, have thrown down the glove again this holiday season in their annual campaign against Too Much Stuff. If you follow The Heirloom Registry or the Home History Book, you may have met Dan and Mike. Together they founded Houstory, a small business dedicated to preserving family keepsakes and the home histories.

    I first met Dan at the SCGS Jamboree in Burbank a few years ago. I loved the Home History Book, a beautiful hand-crafted journal designed to help record the history of your house. And I really liked the The Heirloom Registry, a legacy website created to hold the history of family heirlooms and reconnect stories and artifacts through generations. I first wrote about The Heirloom Registry in Before the Pirate Toy Chest Became an Heirloom after we discovered my husband's childhood treasure in the family home. 

    NoMore 0681

    For the past few years, the Houstory Bros. have waged a quiet but effective campaign to bring sanity to holiday over-gifting. They call it the "#No More Stuff" campaign and you can read about it at the Houstory Blog. So, while The Family Curator is all about preserving and archiving the "stuff" that you inherit and treasure, the Houstory Brothers are encouraging us not to acquire a lot of additional "stuff" that we don't really need or want. I like the idea. I have more than enough wonderful keepsakes accumulated from my life, and my parents and grandparents. It's hard enough to care for what's under my roof right now, I certainly don't need more. The Houstory campaign reminds me of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts mantra:

    Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

    At holiday time, especially, it's a worthwhile thought to bear in mind.

    I like the gift Dan and Mike's parents gave to their children last year -- they recorded the stories of their favorite family heirlooms to preserve online at The Heirloom Registry where their children, grandchildren, and extended family could read the history of those keepsakes.

    Pass It On

    Both my mother and my mother-in-law were thoughtful family historians. They didn't have The Heirloom Registry, but each woman wrote notes about the provenance of special items and tucked them inside the keepsake. My mom made notes of wedding gifts or where she bought something. My mother-in-law liked to leave the price tag and a note about the "priceless" treasure she found at a bargain. I tend to sketch a chain of ownership, starting as far back as possible to record the owner, their birth and death dates, residence, and anything I know about the manufacture and item.

    My goal for next year is to gift each family with a keepsake notebook with stories and photos of a few special heirlooms, and to start passing along some of those treasures to the next generation. I think it will feel good to see those things in a new home, and be a good answer to the Houstory campaign. Maybe we can call it "Pass It On."

    I created a form to help me remember the details I wanted to record about my family keepsakes, including description, previous owners, and former locations. Here is a link to download a free copy of my form to use for your own heirloom book or to help you prepare stories to upload to The Heirloom Registry:

    The Family Curator's Family History Form

    Congratulations Winner of the Heirloom Registry Scavenger Hunt 3

    The "Easter Eggs" have all been found and Brenda Ciesla is the winner of the Heirloom Registry Hunt #3 Prize Package. She will receive a great bundle of prizes from Heirloom Registry and friends:

    Plan Your Way to Research Success Webinar, from Marian Pierre-Louis
    Antique Trader Collectibles 2013 Price Guide
    Heirloom Registry Heirloom Stickers
    How to Archive Family Keepsakes, ebookfrom Denise Levenick 

    Check the Heirloom Registry Blog later today for the announcement of the Scavenger Hunt Grand Prize winner.


    The Heirloom Hunt is On: Find the Clue in The Family Curator's Pirate Treasure Chest

    I'm a pushover for vintage collectables, and when we found this beat-up old pirate toy chest in my in-law's house, we knew right away it had a bright future in our home. The Heirloom Registry was the perfect place to record the history of this family keepsake so that its story didn't get lost.

    The Pirate Toy Chest

    I first wrote about rescuing the toy chest last October in Heirloom, Keepsake or Trash. I did more research to discover the toy company's long history in manufacturing wooden toys and children's furniture and wrote about it in Before the Pirate Toy Chest Became an Heirloom.

    It was fascinating to read about the growth and success of the Cass Toy Company in Athol, Hingham, and Somerville, Massachusetts, and in Brent, Alabama, with showrooms on Fifth Avenue in New York City. As the story unfolded, I was sad to learn that the company closed its doors in 1997, and that the factory building was completely demolished by fire in January 2012.

    Our pirate toy chest now features an Heirloom Registry metal plate with a unique identification code. Anyone who wants to know more about the toy chest and its original owners can read about it at The Heirloom Registry. I love knowing that its history is preserved and shared with family and friends. 

    You can read the toy chest's story at The Heirloom Registry by visiting the Registry website and entering the unique identification code shown in the photograph below. 

    Join the fun of The Heirloom Registry's Online Scavenger Hunt by finding the secret word hidden in the Heirloom Registry record for our pirate toy chest.

  • If you’d like to start the scavenger hunt now, I suggest you first go to The Houstory Hearth blog’s special Scavenger Hunt Page. There you’ll find information about the hunt, the prizes – and most importantly the list of the other three blogs you’ll need to visit today.
  • If you already know what you’re doing, here’s the Heirloom Registry ID Code you need to obtain my secret word: KBQG-781-977-4526-2012.
  • If this is your final stop for Hunt No. 3, be sure to submit your entry form with your secret words before Sunday, March 10, 2013 at midnight PST. Good luck – and happy hunting!
  • Thursday

    Hunting for Heirlooms with Houstory Scavenger Hunt

    IMG 0430

    Get into practice for the Easter Bunny with the Heirloom Registry's clever family keepsake Online Scavenger Hunt coming next week, March 4-10. And, like all good treasure hunts, you might even come away with some of the fantastic prizes contributed by participants, including a copy of my new book How to Archive Family Keepsakes.

    Each hunt will run for two days beginning Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, March 4, 6, and 8th with a prize package awarded each day, and a grand prize awarded at the end of the hunt. I'm excited to be included as one of the hunt blogs on Friday, March 8th. 

    Prizes include genealogy books, webinars, digital downloads, and a Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner. See the complete prize list here.

    To join the hunt, visit the day's participating blogs where you can find a unique Heirloom Registry ID code posted in an entry about the contest.

    Next, enter that code at the Heirloom Registry website to view the heirloom's record and find the secret word on the Registry Certificate.

    After you've collected all four secret words from the day's hunt, submit your entry using the Houstory Entry Form to be qualified to win the daily prize package and the grand prize. Complete directions are posted at The Houstory Hearth.

    See you March 8th for The Family Curator's special blog post for The Heirloom Registry Online Scavenger Hunt.


    Caring for Antique Clocks: Blog Book Tour Visits The Houstory Hearth

    Tick Tock, Caring for Your Heirloom Clock: Guest Post for the How to Archive Family Keepsakes Blog Book Tour

    It’s not surprising that The Heirloom Registry was born when Dan and Mike Hiestand wanted to share the story of their heirloom grandfather clock. Watches, clocks, and timepieces of all shapes and sizes have been favorite family keepsakes for generations.

    Houstory Publishing and I share a common interest in preserving family treasures, and I’m delighted to share a few tips for clock care from my new book How to Archive Family Keepsakes with readers of The Houstory Hearth Blog.

    Saving Time: Caring for Your Heirloom Clock

    Timepieces are one of the most popular family heirlooms passed on from generation to generation, and with proper care and regular maintenance you can help keep your keepsake watch or clock ticking well into the next century.

    Most clocks consist of two distinct parts, the clock itself and the outer case. Grandfather clocks, cuckoo clocks, and mantle clocks are often made of wood and metal parts. Decorative clocks may be constructed from brass, bronze, marble, plastic, or other materials. Wristwatches, pocket watches, and ladies' brooch watches are usually cased in silver, gold, or a combination of materials. (continue reading at The Houstory Hearth). . .

    Join the Blog Tour

    Join the Blog Book Tour for How to Archive Family Keepsakes January 10-26, 2013 for author interviews, book excerpts, giveaways, and more. Visit the Blog Book Tour Page at The Family Curator website for the complete schedule.

    Proceeds from the sale of How to Archive Family Keepsakes during the Book Tour will help fund the 2013 Student Genealogy Grant founded in 2010 in honor of Denise’s mother, Suzanne Winsor Freeman.

    Ready to purchase your own copy of How to Archive Family Keepsakes? Now available in both PRINT and eBook editions. Click the button to see ordering options

    Blog Book Tour Giveaways

    Comment on daily Book Blog Tour Post
    Tweet the Tour Twitter @FamilyCurator #keepsakebooktour
    Share the Tour on FaceBook, Google+, Goodreads

    It’s easy to enter to win a free copy of Denise’s new book or one of the weekly giveaway prizes. All you have to do is leave a comment to the Blog Tour Post hosted at one of the official tour blogs. Random winners will also be selected from social media comments on Twitter, FaceBook, and Google+.

    Each blog tour post comment gives you one chance to win; one entry per post per day, please. Leave a comment at each stop on the blog tour and increase your chances of winning. The lucky names will be announced each Saturday during the tour at The Family Curator.


    Family Heirlooms: The Ultimate Re-Gift

    Treasure Chest Thursday

    All I really want for Christmas is my grand-dad's stereo card viewer and his collection of vintage stereograph cards. They were a little warped the last time my Dad shared them with me, but they still conjure lazy Sunday afternoons in Grandpa's little study listening to the tick-tock of a mantle clock while I marveled at the Wonders of the World or Scenes from The Great War.

    ReBox4 Flap 4

    Dad isn't quite ready yet to pass on this heirloom to the next generation, but I think I have some family treasures I might be ready move along to my sons and their families. If you are "re-gifting" family treasures this year, I hope you will take time to write a simple history for your family keepsake. It doesn't have to be a long involved project, but even a simple sentence or two could keep your treasure from being tossed into the trash. 

    If you aren't sure how to start, you can find ideas on crafting an heirloom history in my post Treasure Chest Thursday: Writing the History of Your Heirloom or on the Houstory Hearth Blog where Mike and Dan Hiestand, creators of The Heirloom Registry, write about saving family stories.

    I love meeting people like the Houstory Brothers who are dedicated to helping people save family history by preserving the provenance along with the heirloom. The Heirloom Registry online service is designed to help "stop the stories from disappearing." Whether you register your family keepsake on the Heirloom Registry or record it on paper and attach it to the item, by writing the history of your heirloom you are taking the single most important step toward preserving your family treasure.

    Too many times, we inherit things that seem significant, we just can't quite figure out why. Like the basket of stereo cards from my grandparents' home. I know my own story -- why I like the vintage cards -- but, I wonder if Dad ever looked at those as a kid and how they have survived all these years? Now, there's a conversation for our holiday gathering, and the beginning of an heirloom treasure tale.




    Treasure Chest Thursday: Top 15 Family Heirlooms

    A family heirloom isn't worth nearly as much without the story that goes with it. This seems to be the notion behind The Learning Channel's Top 10 list of the most common items passed on to the next generation. Jewelry leads the list in the #1 spot, but is nudged by Stories as #2. After all, unless the item is valuable itself, why would someone save and cherish anything at all?

    It's all about the stories. . .  which got me thinking about the jewelry I've inherited from my ancestors. . . funky 30's costume clip-on earrings from Grandmother Arline, designer costume bracelets from Mom, and ropes of polished amber from my mother-in-law. None of the pieces are especially valuable, and none were itemized in a list of personal property to be distributed to certain heirs. Do most people inherit valuable jewelry, or is it more the everyday bits and baubles that find their way into our jewelry boxes?

    I found this sweet brooch in Arline's trunk, mixed in with letters, photos, and documents. There's no identification, but I know the photograph is Arline's first child, Lucile Mae Paulen, my aunt. She must have been four or five years old at the time. By then, Arline and her first husband Roy were divorced and Lucy was living with Roy and his parents. Arline was heartbroken by the court's custody decision. Great story.

    What other things do people tend to save and pass on from generation to generation? Almost all kinds of memorabilia are included in TLC's list, and each one depends on the story behind the artifact: 

    1. Jewelry
    2. Stories
    3. Furniture
    4. Quilts
    5. Weapons
    6. Letters and Diaries
    7. Photos
    8. Recipes
    9. Clocks
    10. Musical Instruments

    I think a few popular categories are missing from this list, especially the proverbial Family Bible. Here's my version from Bible to Christmas baubles, with the reminder that each one needs a story to become an heirloom.

    Top 15 Family Heirlooms

    1. Bibles
    2. Photos, Albums and Scrapbooks
    3. Letters, Diaries, Datebooks
    4. Clocks and Watches
    5. Jewelry
    6. Furniture
    7. China and Silver
    8. Weapons
    9. Military Relics
    10. Quilts and Samplers
    11. Recipes
    12. Clothing
    13. Dolls and Toys
    14. Musical Instruments
    15. Christmas Decorations

    What do you think? Have you inherited something that should included in the list? Check out The Heirloom Registry for a great place to identify your family treasure and record its story for the next generation, and receive three free Heirloom Registry stickers with our special partnership when you purchase The Family Curator's new book, How to Archive Family Keepsakes. Click here for details of this offer.


    Before the Pirate Toy Chest Became an Heirloom: Treasure Chest Thursday

    Fire! Fire! Fire! 

    As I researched the manufacturer of our newest family heirloom -- Mr. Curator's childhood "pirate" toy chest -- I discovered that we may own a unique relic of a once-thriving American toy company.

    Cass fire

    Fire at former Cass Toy factory, January 19, 2012
    Photo by Gary Beauchemin, K&G Photography, Used with Permission 

    The more I read about the Cass Toy Company, the more I was intrigued by the story of this successful three-generation business that was devastated by fire over and over again.

    Although this complete history may be somewhat lengthy for our toy chest entry at The Heirloom Registry, I am sure a summary version will give future readers some idea of the story behind our family heirloom.

    Pirates open

    Less than one year ago, in January 2012, the former Cass Toy Factory on Canal Street in Athol, Massachusetts was completely demolished by a massive fire that set off several explosions and called in over 100 firefighters to fight the blaze. The wooden building was being used for storage.

    Ironically, the Cass Toy warehouse on nearby South Athol Road suffered a similar fate on May 16, 1996 when fire broke out in the building causing nearby homes to be evacuated. The huge fire destroyed the warehouse and an adjacent home, and damaged six other homes on the street.

    Throughout it's long history, Cass Toys had been hit by fire at least once before. In 1917, The Standard weekly insurance newspaper reported

    March 20, fire in the plant of the N.D.Cass Company caused loss est at $10,000. The building formerly owned by the Eagle Furn Co frame and unsprinklered O.J. Powers 6 Sons, hat mfgrs, loss of $2,000 on mdse stored in the building and Ira D. Cass had a partial loss on automobiles, insured for $12,000.

    The total devastation of the 1996 fire, however, must have come at a time when it was more prudent to retire than rebuild. According to newspaper reports, the Cass Toy Company closed its doors in 1997.

    Cass Furn CoPHOTO 15889178 61862 37512104 ap

    Former Cass Toy Factory, Athol, MA, 2010

    For over 100 years, Cass Toys manufactured and sold a wide variety of children's toys and musical instruments, including pianos, drums, chalkboards, and wooden furniture. Founded in 1893 by Nathan D. Cass, at one time the firm boasted factories in Athol, Hingham, and Somerville, Massachusets and in Brent, Alabama, with showrooms on Fifth Avenue in New York City. In 1921, the company proposed expanding to with a plant in Manchester, Vermont. 

    Cass was well-known for the popular Casspinette children's pianos, sized from table models to baby grand, all produced at the Athol toy factory. A 1974 newspaper article notes that the Brent plant produced planned to add piano manufacture to it's 15,000 toy chests, 60,000 blackboards, 100,000 child's rockers, and 22,500 play and peg desks. 

    A 1943 advertisement in the trade magazine, Playthings announced

    We’re Busy on Two Fronts

    The Home Front – Thanks to your cooperation – in spite of present difficulties – our popularly priced, individually boxed military toys and train sets will be as widely and equitably distributed as is humanly possible under existing conditions.

    The War Front – Yes, we’re backing the attack by devoting the major portion of our extensive manufacturing facilities to Uncle Sam. And when war’s over over there, our enlarged plant with additional modern equipment will enable us to serve you better than ever.

    Wood Toys have been featured by America’s leading wholesalers and retialers for three generations.

    Buy War Bonds!

    N.D. Cass Co. W. F. Cass, Gen Manager

    Factories, Athol, Hingham, Somerville, Mass.

    Showroom: Room 314, 200 Fifth Avenue, New York 10, N.Y.

    Cass Wood Toys have been featured by America’s leading wholesalers and retailers for three generations.

    Cass wooden toys were well-positioned to weather the wartime shortages of the 1940's. With metal in short-supply, Cass could meet the demand for children's Christmas gifts with their quality wooden furniture, accessories, and toys.

    Who were these three generations of American wood toy makers?

    Nathan D. Cass was a native New Yorker, born in 1875, the son of an English machinist. By 1900, he was married to Grace M. Fish of Massachusetts and the couple was living with Grace's parents in Athol, Worcester County, Massachusetts. Nathan's occupation was listed in the federal census as paper box manufacturer.

    In 1906, William F. Cass is born; the young family continues to live with Grace's parents, and by 1910 Nathan is in the toy business. In 1920, Nathan Cass is listed in the federal census for the first time as a Head of Household, although his mother-in-law, presumably a widow, is still living in the home. William F. is now 13 years old and has a young sister, Grace, just over one year old. Nathan now makes a living from a "toy shop."

    In 1930, Nathan and Grace move to Florida, leaving William F. Cass in charge of the Athol toy business. William appears in the 1930 federal census age 24 with wife Hazel E. Cass. They own a radio set and live in an average-priced home on Union Street in Athol. 

    By 1940, however, William has a new address and a new wife. He is now married to Mabel E. Cass, age 38, and the couple has a five year old son, William F. The family now live on Old Keene Road in Athol and their home valued at $8000 is the most expensive on the block, nearly three times the value of their neighbors. At an annual salary of $4420 with other income as well, William is also the highest wage-earner on his street.

    A 2007 obituary for William F. Cass, Jr. fills in some of the story of the Cass family. The late toymaker, son of William F Cass, Sr. and Mabel E. (Peppard) Cass. He was survived by his wife of 54 years, Martha (Still) Cass, and by two daughters, Gina L. Cass and Lori Stewart, and two sons Bradford N. Cass and William Brent Cass, as well as 15 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. 

    Mr. Cass was the past president of N.D. Cass Co., Inc., of Athol, N.C. Cass Co. of Brent, Alabama and Cass Sales Company in New York City. For many years he operated Cass Dairy Farms in Athol. Mr. Cass was a life long member of the Athol-Orange Elks Club. He was also a member of the Kiwanis Club, Camp Cheneo, Petersham Curling Club and the Toy Manufacturers of America. Mr. Cass owned harness race horses for over 40 years. His passion for the sport took him from Maine to Florida. He was a member of the Standardbred Owners of New England, New York, New Jersey and Florida. Bill enjoyed many years of retirement in Pompano Beach, Florida. Bill was known to enjoy an occasional bet now and then and loved his trips to Las Vegas and Foxwoods. 

    Abram Cass was a craftsman machinist who must have taught his son Nathan something about creating things with his hands. Nathan went on from making paper boxes to make wooden toys, and created a thriving business that weathered two world wars, the Great Depression, and the rise of computer games. Abram's legacy grew into a business that  employed hundreds of people in Massachusetts and Alabama, building toys and furniture that would be enjoyed by thousands of children.

    I'm saddened that the legacy of Cass Toy Company went up in flames with the warehouse in 1996. It would be nice to think they are still turning out sturdy toy chests with brightly painted pirate scenes. On eBay, Cass Toys have become somewhat collectible and chests like ours are fairly hard to find. I'm glad we saved it from the estate sale, and happier yet that it is once again a Pirate Toy Chest.

    You are invited to read the history of our Pirate Toy Chest at The Heirloom Registry--

    Go to The Heirloom Registry website

    Enter the registration serial number in the photo below.


    Pirates label

    Article and Photographs Copyright Denise Levenick, The Family Curator, 2012, All Rights Reserved. Unless otherwise noted.

    Fingerprint Your Heirlooms

    Learn how to preserve your own heirlooms with The Family Curator's new book, How to Archive Family Keepsakes and receive three free Heirloom Registry stickers with purchase during the Fingerprint Your Heirlooms special offer.

    The Family Curator has partnered with The Heirloom Registry and Family Tree Magazine for this special offer through December 31, 2001. Purchase your copy of my new book, How to Archive Family Keepsakes, from or and receive three free Registry stickers to identify your own heirlooms.


    Barnes, George. “Fire destroys former Athol toy factory: Blace closes Canal Street.” Worcester Telegram & Gazette –, 19 January 2012,

    Ed Watkins, NewsWest Alabama Editor, “Santa may do his shopping in Brent,” The Tuscaloosa News – Dec 15, 1974, 16A, Sunday Google news.

    Johnson, Patrick. “Former Cass toy factory in Athol goes up in flames,”, 19 January 2012,

    Playthings, Oct 1943, pg 69,

    The Standard, March 31, 1917, Volume 80, pg 349.

    William F. Cass, Jr., 73 of Athol, 22 July 2007,

    Copyright Denise Levenick, The Family Curator, 2012.



    Keep Up With Your Keepsakes


    Fingerprint Your Heirlooms

    Find practical ideas and step-by-step guidance to help you care for heirlooms in How to Archive Family Keepsakes, and for a limited time recieve three free Heirloom Registry stickers to use in identifying your family treasures for future generations.

    The Family Curator has partnered with The Heirloom Registry and Family Tree Magazine for this special offer through December 31, 2012. Purchase your copy of my new book, How to Archive Family Keepsakes, from or and receive three free Registry stickers.

    Visit The Heirloom Registry to watch the video and see how the registry works.

    Learn How to Write the History of Your Heirloom, from The Family Curator.

    Read how to decide: Heirloom, Treasure, or Trash?

    For more information on this special Fingerprint Your Heirloom promotion, click here.


    Treasure Chest Thursday: Writing the History of Your Heirloom

    Do You Know Where Your Stuff Has Been? 

    Sometimes I find an interesting old photo album or a piece of beautiful engraved silver at an estate sale, and I have to wonder, Where did this come from? 

    It's a sad fact that so many family heirlooms end up in the hands of antique dealers and collectors instead in the homes of family members. Fortunately for me, I seem to come from a line of women who took a few extra steps to keep their treasures from becoming lost from the family.

    I'm still finding notes that my mom (and my mother-in-law, too) tucked inside jewelry boxes, vases, and books. Sometimes the notes tell a story of how the item was acquired, and sometimes the story is more about the item itself.

    Moms treasures 21

    One of my favorite heirloom histories is actually pretty short,

    "Nothing special about this but it is nice -- for candy, olives, pickles & etc."

    When you stop and think about it, that note is actually liberating for someone who might feel overwhelmed by inherited treasures and reluctant to part with anything that just might turn out to have some great sentimental value. No one wants to hear their aunt say, "Why in the world would you get rid of that wonderful so and so? It was a gift from Mr. Whozit and it's been halfway around the world and back."

    Mom's notes clued us in to wedding gifts, special memories, and a few items she wanted given to special people.

    Of course, all these little bits of paper can become separated from the item and eventually lost. And there will be a time when someone wonders Who wrote the notes? and What family wedding?

    Moms treasures 17

    If you are the keeper of the stuff in your family, it can be a good idea to use some kind of template or form to help you keep record the history of your keepsakes. It's easy to forget to include a physical description or measurements when you are busy telling stories about an item, but this information can be vital if the item is lost or stolen. Using a template also allows you to take your time and involve other family members, as well as collect photos to illustrate your heirloom history.

    My form is short and simple, but it reminds me to include all the important facts. I've included a link for you to download a copy at the end of this article.

    Some items in your family archive may be special keepsakes; these are great candidates for online registration with The Heirloom Registry. The unique serial number can be attached directly to your heirloom and your notes added by cut-and-paste to the Heirloom Registry online form.

    Any family member can write an heirloom history; it's a great project for a family gathering or  something special to do with school-age children. And, a handwritten history is even more special when the careful script is made by someone you love. Scan the handwritten sheets and save a digital image to attach online; keep the originals in your own heirloom notebook. This notebook (or file folder) is also a good place to preserve the special notes you may find tucked inside various items. 

    Mom was right. The crystal bowl might not have been a wedding gift, but it is pretty nice and I use it often "for candy, olives, pickles, & etc."

    Link to download my Heirloom History form in editable text format -- 

    The Family Curator's Heirloom History Form


    Fingerprint Your Heirlooms with New Preservation Promotion

    Wouldn't it be great if family keepsakes could be marked with an ID chip like your pedigree pooch, or fingerprinted like a preschooler? We'd never have to worry about Granddad's watch becoming lost and wandering far from home. And the story of your favorite chair would always be available for the current owner to find and enjoy.

    I'm passionate about preserving family keepsakes and the stories behind the keepsakes. So I am especially excited to announce a special promotion with The Heirloom Registry and Family Tree Magazine that offers readers a sample of a terrific product designed to help keep your heirlooms from becoming orphans.

    With every purchase of my new book How to Archive Family Keepsakes made through The Heirloom Registry or Family Tree Magazine buyers will receive three permanent registry listings and registry stickers.  

    Like fingerprints or microchips, Heirloom Registry stickers and plaques provide a unique identification for almost anything. Each registry provides an individual serial number and the web address where your descendants can find The Heirloom Registry and read it's personal family history. 

    “Our promotion is called ‘Fingerprint Your Heirlooms’," says Heirloom Registry founder Dan Hiestand, "because researching family history is too often like detective work. Denise's book helps folks to organize, preserve and share family heirlooms, while our product helps to make sure the stories behind the heirlooms are saved and accessible — in effect, “fingerprinted” — for future generations. This combined effort means your descendants won’t have to play detective.”

    See how The Heirloom Registry works in this video.

    Dan and his brother Mike are founders of The Home History Book and The Heirloom Registry at Houstory Publishing. Their unique products are a perfect fit with my mission of organizing, preserving, and sharing family keepsakes.

    Last week in Heirloom, Keepsake or Trash? I wrote about our own "newest" family heirloom, Mr. Curator's childhood Pirates' Toy Chest. I've added a brass Heirloom Registry  registration plate to the inside lid of the Pirates' Toy Chest so that its story doesn't become lost in future transitions. I would probably attach a plate or sticker to the underside or back of an antique, but I think the brass plate adds to the vintage effect of the toy chest. In fact, I expect more stickers and decals will be added to the inside of the chest lid over the next several years.

    The Heirloom Registry makes it easy and affordable to write a simple history of your family treasure that will be available for future generations. Houstory is committed to maintaining records accessibility by designating a portion of every registration fee to a fund dedicated for future operation. 

    Watch The Family Curator for more ideas on sharing your heirlooms and recording their special stories.

    I am looking forward to including a completed Heirloom Registry tag on a few special keepsake gifts this holiday season. Who wouldn't love to find a documented heirloom under their Christmas tree?

    The special Fingerprint Your Heirlooms promotion runs through the end of 2012. 

    Note: I first discovered Houstory Publishing and The Heirloom Registry at the SCGS 2012 Jamboree. I was so impressed with their products that I contacted Dan and Mike to ask if they might make this sampler offer available to buyers of my book. My enthusiasm is all mine! My publisher, Family Tree Books, likes this product too and has joined with us to help package the book and Registry stickers. I think The Heirloom Registry is an innovative product that brings a together technology and family treasures. Let us know what you think! 


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