When I was 14 years old I remember finding an ancient looking photo album in my grandmother's basement. She knew it had belonged to my great great aunt Lizzie Kay (her husband's aunt), but she didn't have a clue who any of the people in the photographs were. She suspected it was the Kay family who we weren't directly related to.
As we leafed through the 25 + photos of the album I was mesmerized by the faces who at some point were important enough to put into an album over 100 years ago and now were unrecognizable to anyone alive today. We scoured the back for labels and tried to find family resemblance in each photo. As we got to the back of the album, we pulled out the photo from the insert. Tucked behind the photograph, perfectly preserved, was a handwritten letter from 1904.
From that point on I became mildly obsessed with old photographs. I began a quest of collecting every old family photograph I could get my hands on. I hit the jackpot a few years ago when I randomly got in contact with someone through Ancestry.com who had a box in her possession that also belonged to Aunt Lizzie Kay. I met the woman at her house and it was filled with hundreds of photographs, postcards, greeting cards and letters. Not only was this a collection of her belongings, but also her sister's that died before she did. As I continued to look through the box, I started noticing that there were things in there about my grandparents. I was confused at first because this box belonged to a different generation, how did my grandparents things get in there? I asked the woman who had rescued the box where she had gotten it. She said a friend of hers was helping someone else clean out their attic while they were moving. He noticed an old box in the corner and looked through it and saw the Kay family name (who this woman was related to) and thought she'd want to see it. I put the pieces together and realized that Lizzie Kay had left her house to my grandfather when she died in 1944. My grandparents lived there and decided to move out in 1950, just 3 months after my father was born. They had left this box in the attic for over 60 years. Somehow it remained preserved, it wasn't thrown away and it made its way back to me.
During the next few weeks I'll be posting about what I discovered in the box and how I used it to help with my genealogy research. In the meantime, check your attics, basements, and other nooks and crannies. You never know what treasures you may discover!