Heirlooms: Using to profile ancestors

One of our favorite antiques sits in the corner of our dining room. It can’t be used for its original purpose, and we want to prevent its ruin. I often showcase my small quilts and fan them over the top. This one is destined for the corner, but not all heirlooms need to collect dust.

Putting heirlooms to use

If possible, why not think about ways to use an heirloom that would otherwise gather cobwebs? I was able to do just that with something I received as a child. I’ll get to that soon.

This high chair belonged to my mother-in-law. David, however, her half brother, was the first baby to christen this versatile chair. Since he was 14 years her senior, that makes this chair approximately 118 years old, but I’m getting ahead of myself….

Flesh it out

Using the questions on the CREATE ANCESTOR PROFILES page, I’ll flesh out the facts to create a story about this fabulous chair.

Keeping in mind our goal of teaching our children their history, we can begin here:

  1. Take several pictures


2. Write down what you know

The seat is leather. The wheels are metal. The main frame is made of wood, but I am not certain which type. It is light weight and easy to move. We think it was born in 1900.

3. If your information is limited, ask family members

Someone may have a memory I could include. “This high chair was used by all the babies in the Beachler family.” “It sat in grandma Lucy’s kitchen in Miamisburg.

4. Research for more information

Dr. Google offers a wealth of instant information. You might want facts about wooden high chairs. You might want a general history. Add anything you deem relevant. Here is one resource:


5. Ask yourself: “How is this unique?”and include fun facts

The chair was used by four children in the Beachler family. It was used in grandma’s childhood home in Miamisburg, Ohio. It later made its way across the US to Oregon. It doubles as a stroller!

6. Start writing

It doesn’t have to be lengthy, or overly accurate; you are after memories, too. Write what you know and show your personality. What makes this item special to you? Why have you kept it in your home? Is it something you can’t bear to part with? Why?

7. Enter the “story” in a journal, notebook, blog post, or NEW DOCUMENT

This doesn’t have to be difficult or costly. If you don’t want to start a blog, there are myriad ways to chronicle your history.

The craft store is a great place to look for scrapbooks. You don’t have to use fancy papers or expensive pens. You can buy a simple, blank paged, spiral book to start. Notebooks are not pretty, but they are great for this purpose. The point is to get started.

And, what about that item I mentioned? I turned my doll house into a soap and towel holder for my bathroom. My goofy, lovable, broom-playing grandfather made one each for my sister and I. Below, the Christmas we received our houses.


haggie geier christmas_grandma handing me a gift_grandpa Haggie and mom and lynneThe photo above is priceless. From left: my sister in front of our dollhouses, my mother, grandma Lalla handing me a gift, and our beloved grandpa Haggie, creator of our childhood gifts. This was Christmas, about 1962.

If you’ve been able to successfully profile an ancestor using heirlooms, let me know!

Happy profiling! ❤

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