This was a hard project to get started on! My Treasure Chest had so many different things to go through ~ letters, pictures, books and various treasures saved by the family for many, many years. . . . and in several instances, over 100 years!
About two weeks ago I started separating things into piles by family names. From these piles, I decided how I was going to file everything and what I was going to scan, copy or dispose of. Turns out, I disposed of nothing, nada, zip!
A week ago, I started scanning pictures. I had to replace my computer and with a new operating system, had to buy a new scanner. I scanned 84 pictures (according to family name) that day, and set up a new filing system for these treasures. I have everything in a new box, organized and ready to finish. File folders have been created w/red dots meaning completed and green dots “to be done.” Treasures are wrapped and labeled with a note inside of each one as to what it is, who it belonged to, and the date.
Although I still haven’t finished my project, I have an excellent start on it and it should be done by New Years!
What did I find that I consider a treasure? Several things ~ and it depends on your definition of “treasure!”
1. I found an envelope labeled “Edwin’s hair.” I forgot about this! This baby hair belonged to my grandmother’s brother, and my great-grandmother had put it in an envelope in 1905! I have DNA over 100 years old!
2. I have a letter written by my father to his grandfather where he talks about me as a toddler and how I get “more beautiful every day!” Love that letter!
3. I found my great-grandfather’s “oration” from High School in 1888. He was in the top 5 of his class at Harrisburg High School and as such gave an oration at Graduation. He actually, kept a copy of this speech from 1888 in his papers, and I have it. I had seen it before but I guess, it just didn’t register as to exactly what it was. He must have been pretty proud of it.
4. I found a poem my great-grandfather wrote for my grandmother when she was a little girl. My great-grandmother would take the children out of the city (Washington DC) every summer, vacationing either in Maryland or in Maine. Since my grandmother was “Daddy’s Girl” she was very spoiled by him, up until the time of his death!
5. But the Crown Jewels I found are shown below. My great-grandfather, Edwin A. Niess, was a Past Master of St. John’s Masonic Lodge in Washington DC. He is 2nd from the left in the front row. Look carefully at the large pin/badge on his lapel and then check out the one under this picture.
Edwin A. Niess
St. John’s Lodge
July 14, 1897
Now where this is gold plated or not is yet to be determined. It appears to be, but I’ve not taken it to a jeweler to verify it. I think the one with a higher intrinsic value (yes, I have two of them!) would be the one below. (although intrinsic value means nothing, it’s the family value that means everything!)
The back of this one says:
Edwin A. Niess
By R.A.A. No 2
Jan. 22, 1914
They are both in their original cases, but the case for the second one is very fragile. I am delighted to have been chosen to be the curator of the Family Collection! These will be passed on from generation to generation, and I was the one who documented and preserved the collection.
How blessed am I?