Monday, April 21, 2014

52 Ancestors - #16 - Memento Monday - Sophie's Shoes

My great-grandmother,
Sophie Weiss Spiegel
My great-grandmother's slippers

As I am a bit crunched for time this week, I thought I would post a "quickie" about the importance of mementos in our family history.

I am quite lucky to be from a family of quasi-hoarders. Thanks Mom!! Not everyone recognizes the importance of keeping their grandmother's slippers. Or the letters from their high school sweater. Or their father's urologist report from 1938. (Okay, I'm pretty sure my mother had no idea that was in her father's papers....)

Maybe we shouldn't be keeping these things. Members of one of my favorite Facebook groups, The Organized Genealogist have suggested photographing these types items and ...horrors.....THROWING THE ITEM AWAY! I can't do it.I don't know why.

Every so often I go through a box such as the one pictured here. I hold the slippers my great-grandmother Sophie Spiegel wore. (She died in 1949.) I examine the letters patch from my mother's high school sweater. (Go New Rochelle High!!) I imagine my well-dressed Tante Vally (Valerie Lichtenthal) wearing her fancy gloves. I create a vision of the Viennese kitchen circa 1930 where the maid may have used the fancy silver spoon.

A collection of family mementos

All these things allow me to feel more connected to my ancestors. A picture may be worth a 1,000 words. But the actual item is priceless.


  1. I love this - I have several items, some newly acquired since my mother's recent downsizing. I should blog about them and share the stories. Thanks for the inspiration. There are definitely some things I couldn't throw out after hearing the stories about them.

  2. I wish I knew more about the items we have. Blogging is one way to pass on the stories to future generations. Really helps to "cement" in our minds that our ancestors were REAL people not just a collection of facts.