Family History 101

There’s one room in the house that is notorious for being the junk room. That room is our office. In it, the computer desk is always piled high with bills and statements to be filed away. My craft table is always littered with scrapbooking paper and other embelishments. And I can always count on seeing a stack of odds and ends shoved up against the wall. As if the clutter isn’t bad enough, the room itself hasn’t seen a vacuum in weeks. But I’m trying to change all that.

The first step to making the change started with de-cluttering the stack of odds and ends by the wall. And the most important of these odds and ends were some old relics Mikey inherited from his mom a few months ago. Pictured below are two of those artifacts — Mikey’s great-grandfather’s sword from his days as a police chief and a metal encasement that housed a number of Mikey’s historical family documents. We hung shelves in the office last weekend to showcase these special symbols of Mikey’s family history.

But what I found most intriguing were the documents inside the metal encasement.

Eight scrolls - some dating back as far as 1882.

A majority of them were documents and certificates for his great great grandfather, Thomas R. Roemer.

Mikey examines his great great grandfather's doctorate diploma. Thomas R. Roemer was a medical doctor.

Great great grandfather Roemer was elected to a Board of Honorary Members in 1882.

Certificate from the War Department that promoted Thomas Roemer to Captain during the Spanish-American War. The certificate is dated July 6, 1898 and is signed by former President William McKinley.

A letter from the War Department, granting great great grandfather Roemer honorable discharge from the Spanish-American War in 1899. The document indicates that he did not have any injuries at the time of discharge.

On the backside of one of the scrolls is a message from Julia A. Roemer to her daughters. It reads, "To my darling daughters Virginia and Bernice - Always treasure and keep these papers. Mother Julia A. Roemer 1925".

I’m sure great great grandma Julia would be happy to know that these papers are still in her family’s hands. While the documents are delicate, they’re still in decent shape. And I can’t get enough of that vintage, old-paper smell. It’s the smell of old library books – which I love.

Sifting through all of these papers makes me wonder what hand-written keepsakes I have that can be passed down to my kids some day. In today’s day and age where we text and type, I can’t say I have a whole lot of love letters or special notes that I keep tucked away in a drawer. But being a writer, I, of all people, should be one to think about starting a box with a few hand-written somethings. Not every piece of paper needs to be shredded or recycled. There are some words in life that should just be saved.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Family History 101

  1. Sandy

    It would be cool to go to Antiques Roadshow to see what the value of these are.

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