K is for Keeper of Family Treasures

As the generation that came of age during World War I passed away, my mother assumed the role of preserving the memories of her parents and her aunts and uncles.

A number of her elderly relatives had no children to leave their photos, diaries, and special pieces to, so they handed them along to my mother.

One of the family portraits that came into Mom's keeping.

One of the family portraits that came into Mom’s keeping.

The family treasures like Uncle Albert’s WWI diary and his military helmet were safe in her care. These were entrusted to her by Albert’s widow, Vina. Mom visited Vina in the nursing home and gathered tidbits of family history from her. On the wall of Mom’s writing room hung the whatnot shelf that Albert made.

Here's Albert Vining's shelf that he made. Mom used to keep books on it in her writing room.

Here’s Albert Vining’s shelf that he made. Mom used to keep books on it in her writing room.

When her Aunt Bertha died, Mom preserved the photo album filled with vintage black-and-white pictures showing Bertha and the Navajo children in New Mexico where she worked in 1929 and 1930.

Bertha McGhee's photo from her time teaching in Farmington, New Mexico.

Bertha McGhee’s photo from her time teaching in Farmington, New Mexico.

Of course, no one person can save everything from previous generations, but my mother made a valiant effort to gather and write the stories from earlier generations of McGhees, Towers, Vinings, Martins, Joys and Kennedys. She served as the family historian or the archivist. She published many of the stories in Kanhistique, but that magazine has ceased publication.

These issues featured Gail Lee Martin's articles.

These issues featured Gail Lee Martin’s articles.

Now the photos, the letters, the diaries and her writings are in my keeping. I’ll do my best to maintain them and feature them for others to enjoy just like my mother did before me.

Here’s where I’ve showcased Albert Vining’s WWI experience: Albert Vining in WWI. The plan for Bertha McGhee’s photos, diary and letters is to make a book with those. We started this project together, but now I must carry it on solo.

You can read more about Bertha McGhee here: Navajo School – Farmington NM 1929-1931 and Bertha McGhee – Missionary from Kansas.

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5 thoughts on “K is for Keeper of Family Treasures

  1. Virginia, I’m fairly new to genealogy research and delving into personal family history, and I’m in danger of becoming addicted! Your stories of your family’s history, as well as of your mom’s efforts to preserve and record it, inspire me. Thank you for sharing them.

    What a treasure, that delicately carved shelf. How very fortunate you are to have so many heirlooms and records in your family.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Mom and the Postcards | Discovering Mom

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