Friday, February 22, 2013
E is for Ephemera - Family History Through the Alphabet
Those calendars with their glue-bound memories are ephemera married to ephemera. They will not last long. When I began I knew nothing about acid and lignin eating away paper. It's only been in the last twenty years that knowledge of preservation has become common to the general public.
I think of ephemera as a family historian's delight. Those pieces of paper that were never meant to last longer than a brief time give me insight into the personalities, interests, and activities of my ancestors. Granted, I really only have ephemera from my parents, but even at that, it helps me get to know them a wee bit better, especially their younger selves. That my stoic father saved his own father's obituary hints at a tender side of my father that I never saw. That my mother clipped poems published in newspapers hints at the artistic side of her that was not so evident in her frugal lifestyle.
An ancestor's ephemera is one of those things that you either have or you don't. You can't retrieve it if it was never saved. And if it's not properly preserved, it can't be retrieved, either. If you have old family papers, guard and protect them carefully. For the few items my parents saved, I'm truly grateful.
This post is a contribution to the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge. Go to the link and you can see other submissions for this meme. Alona Tester of Genealogy and History News is the creator and keeper of this meme. Thank you, Alona!