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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. 

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    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

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    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.

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