Such was the case with my cousin, Natalie Tirrell. Natalie has an oil portrait of her ancestor, Emma Gardner Tirrell, who was born in 1808 in Hingham, Massachusetts. The painting has value as a work of art but to her descendants, its value isn’t monetary but rather has intrinsic value in a currency that all genealogists know … “Family”.
Many years ago, my mother asked to me crawl into the attic of my grandparents home to see if there was anything in that space that needed to be removed before the home was sold. My grandparents had died and their daughters were cleaning the home so it could be shown.
The space was dark and very dusty but full of treasure. Under a layer of old newspapers, I found several large photos of my ancestors. They were printed on cardboard stock and were extremely delicate. The years of heat and cold in the attic and trails of critters hadn’t been kind to them but I wanted them.
I asked my mother and aunts if any of them wanted the photos only to receive wrinkled noses in response. None of them thought they would last long enough to get them to the car, let alone survive long enough to be framed.
The did survive and line the wall leading to my office today. They have high intrinsic value to me because they are ‘Family’.
My wife was similarly blessed when her great aunt gave her similar photos from her side of the family. They line the walls to her sanctum in our home as well. Gold. Pure Gold or at least that is how we see them.
How about you? What ancestral treasures have you found or inherited? Do you value them far in excess of the valuation assigned by society in general?
Welcome to the club.