Recording Family History

You all might remember the two paint-by-number pieces that I had framed recently.  They were painted by my husband when he was in fifth grade.  He had his appendix out and his Aunt Ann gave him a pint-by-number kit with the hopes that he would have something to entertain him and he’d sit still.


Neither is completely painted but mostly painted.  I love them partly because I love dogs but mostly because he did them.

The other day Kalissa said to me, “Mom, I wish you would somehow put a paper on the back of that so when you’re gone we’ll remember what it is and the story that goes with it.”

That’s a fair request.  I have Grandma Kramer’s secretary and I have often wished I remembered the story about it.  I think she bought it at an auction for $5…but I’m not sure.  Golly, I wish I knew.

So I tried to figure out how I could do this and then I happen to be on Facebook on a cross-stitch site.  One of the members was showing this for their cross-stitch pieces and how she records the information about them.

She recommended buying… these Index Card Pockets.  I found them HERE on Amazon.

Then I pulled out some index cards…

The pockets I got were self-adhesive, so I lifted them from the backing and…

I stuck them in place.


I wrote on the card and slipped it in place.


Doesn’t that look good??


It didn’t do a bit of damage to the front or to the piece, yet the information Kalissa requested is there.


I’m super happy about this…I will be adding more cards to other items here in the house.  I can even add them to furniture pieces like that secretary from Grandma Kramer, or the file cabinet Kramer refinished….or my cross stitch pieces.  I’m really excited about this and am thrilled I found a way to pass on some family history.

I don’t care what the kids keep or don’t keep when I’m gone.  But, I am really excited that when they do pass things on (or keep them), they will know the history and can make a more educated decision about what they want to do with the items.

How cool would it be if Carver’s great-grandchild one day has these paint by number pieces and can tell the little blurb about Kramer having his appendix out to his grandchildren?  Without the little blurb on the back, these would likely end up in the garbage.

16 thoughts on “Recording Family History

  1. Rose Marie Gersema

    What a great idea. My girls are always thinking I should write down things I tell them of the family. I’m certainly not going to write a book, but this idea is something that will work.
    Your family will be glad to have the story of these paintings.

    Reply
  2. Judith Fairchild

    Lovely idea!!! I don’t have much from my family as most of the good stuff was lost in a fire years ago. But the stories remain. The index cards are a lot e!Sierra to put the basics on. I do have a quilt that my dad’s mother made. Back in the late ’20’s early ’30’s no actual date just a lovely hand stitched and quilted reminder that quilting runs in the family from both sides. Yes it’s fun to imagine those wide eyed babies as grandpa shows them the pictures and tells the story.of their several greats grandpa being 12 and having suegery.

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  3. Bridget

    haha, My daughter just brought home dozens of library book card sleeves…I wondered what we would want them for and now I have the perfect use! woo hoo. thank you for being so timely! :) Sending you some prayers your way.

    Reply
  4. Kate

    Such a great idea! I plan to start doing that. I have a picture a client painted for me and I have put the info in a snack bag and taped to back, but this is a much better idea. Thank you for passing it on. Still in my thoughts and prayers.

    Reply
  5. Hedy

    We moved recently and found 4 large paint by number my husband’s mother made. His son and teenage grandchildren took them and have them sitting on wood blocks in the hall of their home. They are looking for frames for the pictures. I think I’ll get your sticky things and add to the pictures and to antique pieces of furniture I have if my grandmother and my mom. Great idea.

    Reply
  6. Kim J LeMere

    What a brilliant idea, thanks for sharing. I like the idea that it doesn’t take away from the original piece, yet it labels it.

    Reply
  7. Anne Fisher

    Could we say that sometimes it pays to be on Facebook???? Great idea. My youngest is always wanting the memories written down. I start and I stop– and don’t really get anything accomplished. Not everything would work with the cards–but sure is a great idea. I have a pieced quilt top that my Aunt Angie made for me-I think when I graduated from 8th grade. It’s the unfinished top! I KNOW I should have done something with it-but the color of fabric that was used to put the blocks together just grates. Not a good way to feel about it-as I know it was what she had available and she was a sweet Aunt. She was much older than my dad– perhaps 3rd from the oldest, he was youngest of family of 12. He would be 125 years old this coming May!! So that quilt top has been around a very long time!! Wind and snow is wild here-about 15 miles from the MN/IA border!! Good thing you went back to Rochester!!

    Reply
  8. Carla

    My mother is the family genealogist. She is big into recording an item’s history. Therefore, if you look inside a pitcher, for example, you’ll likely find a slip of paper with its history. Those envelopes are brilliant. I was great friends with a woman my mother’s age from church. She was like another grandma to my 2 youngest. When she moved house she had a chair that was handmade by a family member going out on the curb. I snagged it with her blessing and taped a paper underneath with its story. The paper fell off… I’ll be trying the index card holders.

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  9. Karen

    Love this! After going through my moms things and not remembering the full stories. I’ve often wondered how to let people know what things are family pieces

    Reply
  10. Toni W.

    Such a great idea! I have many things that have belonged to my grandmothers and even my great or great-great grandmother (caned rocking chair, caned chairs, textiles, etc.) but I don’t really know what is from whom or how old it is, etc. I have a male cousin on each side of the family who were born the same year as me, so we’re tied as the oldest living family members on either side of the family. All the history is gone.

    Reply
  11. Michelle

    Years ago, my mom started a photo album with pictures of items and notes about where they came from. We’ve got antiques from both sides of the family and lots of random thrift and estate sale finds. I hope I’d be able to pick out what came from where, but there’s still a ton of stuff I’ve never seen because it’s been tucked away for decades. Or we’re so used to seeing it that we don’t question where it came from!

    Reply

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