Sunday, August 5, 2012
TERWILLIGER - That SOUVENIR ALBUM
After posting on my favourite surname - TERWILLIGER - on Surname Saturday, I decided I simply had to do "something" about my greatgrandfather's Souvenir Album...
A few years ago, I took photos of each of the pages before putting it away carefully - it's quite old and was badly cared for in the past. Currently it's experiencing benign neglect - at least it's dry, coolish, and put safely away from any moisture.
That made 266 images saved on my computer (and backed up of course), so that I wouldn't need to handle the Album. Each photo has now been looked at, labelled with descriptions, so I know what I might need to see. BUT, it's now very clear: I need to do a complete Inventory of this Album, item by item, page by page, photo by photo, dinner menu by dinner menu, travel ticket by ticket, etc.
An inventory. Details. Why? Here's why:
There are several full pages of people's signatures (see left), and several pages of their calling cards, pages and pages of engagement cards and marriage invitations, various newspaper articles, obituaries (some not dated nor sourced). I did quick research on many names, and kept saying "wow, really? hmm. interesting." All those engagement cards and marriage invitations should be identified in detail and put on the web for their descendants to find - don't you think? A daunting task - there are quite a few.
Plus a page of political buttons (see on the bottom left). Who are some of those people? As a Canadian I have no idea of most of them - although of course I do recognize several. But there are various political, memorial and other types of buttons or coins, needing to be identified and put into context.
And numerous pages - covered with small circles or shapes of what look like symbols of organizations... which organizations or societies are they?? (see on right) He also glued down other similar shapes to fill in other pages - with no particular order or plan, as far as I can determine. They need to be identified as well.
There's a Valentine love poem from my greatgrandfather to his soon-to-be wife (adorably bad!), several post cards and notes from relatives and colleagues. All of those souveniers should be transcribed, obviously.
There are Roselle Musical Society presentations (my grandmother and greatgrandmother sang, played piano), and other recital programmes. There are dinner and luncheon menus in complete detail - amazing to me that he saved all these!! Glorious menus, I must say! And pages of travel tickets to/from various places in NY State and Bermuda and ...
Oh my. There's a lot. It all deserves a place all of its own, with all the detail I can muster from the record as well as in research - and with handling the pages as little as possible. I do wish I could remove a few items and photos to look them over, or see if there's anything written on the back. But this glue he used in the late 1800s - it's as permanent as it can be! Amazing stuff - there's no way to peek behind anything.
A winter project, I think. Right now, it's too warm to be handling old papers (29 C.). I'm quite excited actually. I've been wondering for several years what on earth I could do with this wonderful Album of my greatgrandfather, James Grover "Grove" TERWILLIGER.
Family, friends, and others - I hope you enjoy these pages about our ancestors and their lives. Genealogy has become somewhat of an obsession, more than a hobby, and definitely a wonderful mystery to dig into and discover. Enjoy my writing, and contact me at celia.winky at gmail dot com if you have anything to add to the stories. ... Celia Lewis