As sentimental as I am, it is always a thrill for me to learn something new about one of my ancestors. It is hard to describe how exciting it is to find something that actually belonged to an ancestor who lived long before me.
My elderly aunt is the person in my paternal line that knew lots of family stories and history. She was also the one who traveled to places where our ancestors lived and met other relatives and learned even more. She was a living fountain of knowledge. She died in her late 80s and along with her went family history that I'll probably never learn.
While visiting her at her home in another state, she began to show me things I had never seen before. I was amazed as she described the history behind these items and my mind imagined what the people looked like and where and how they lived.
One of the neatest things she showed me was this box. Her mother had told her the story behind it. My great-great grandfather is said to have made this for my great-great-grandmother. He served in the Civil War, so we are able to come up with something of a time-frame. The family lived in northern NY.
The box is solid on the outside and still in pretty good condition other than part of the latch is broken off, but the piece was kept and is inside the box. The back of the box has two latches that are attached with tiny nails, but a few nails are missing and the latches don't work. The outside of the box is decorated with America flags and banners, plus there are small red stars and smaller blue ones. There is carving across the lid from the front to back. There is a rifle and sword on the top with some insignia I can't identify. It is clear enough to see; I just have no clue what it means.
The inside is lined with a silk-type material, nicely layered along the lid, bottom and sides. It has rotted along the back area. The lid is now held on by what material has not yet ripped.
The box is very patriotic and it fascinates me. I was so thrilled when my aunt gave it to me. I try not to handle it much so it will last a lot longer.
As we all know, family stories aren't always accurate. In this case, I have nothing to go on but my aunt's story. Everyone else who might have known about it are gone now. Regardless of whether the story is as told, I love this box. I can imagine what it looked like when it was new and imagine my gg-grandmother receiving it from her husband. I have a nice picture of him in his Civil War uniform, so I know what he looked like.
Treasures like this are the most exciting things to me. I love learning where I came from and who the people were whose blood I carry today. To have anything from their life is a gift I would never part with.