A recent family gathering of my maternal family tree where family lore, good food and catching up are central activities, came with a treat: The Rightmeier Family Trunk.
Always referred to with some reverence, this treasure in a trunk only made its presence known on very special occasions. Although I had heard of it and seen some of the items it contained, this was the first time I, along with family members present, was able to actually rummage through its precious content.
Being intrigued with family history, I was like a kid in a candy shop, looking through the vintage, but carefully maintained photo albums. I gazed into the faces of my ancestors to whom I owe my very existence on earth.
Ancient Treasure In A Trunk
Some of the items go back over 150 years. For instance, the family bible with the earliest record of the Rightmeier family tree. Recorded by my Great Great Grandmother Melinda Rightmeier, this treasured record was continued by her and Great Great Granddad Frederick’s descendants. It resides among other bibles, books, photos albums, notebooks and farm records.
This trunk has been resident in Jewell County, Kansas for a very long time. Family history says the trunk itself came from Germany but that has yet to be verified.
Wherever the trunk itself came from, it has resided in the county where the 1800s homestead remains to this day. However, on this day, I took custody of this priceless treasure trove of information. The trunk is now in my home several counties south.
The Finding Plan
Here is my plan to Find Treasure In A Trunk:
- Inventory the content, including photographic records.
- Start a list of questions. There already are many: Who is this in this photo? Who made this? Who did this belong to? Why is this in here?
- Ask Family. With an email list of those who working on Rightmeier family information, I have no doubt that many answers can be found.
- Document the Stories. There are already stories to be told from what we do know. Yet, with information mined from the Treasure In A Trunk, more will emerge.
This is a special kind of treasure, more valuable than priceless heirlooms. Don’t get me wrong, the latter is very nice, but the stories, accompanied by an object, or not, are where true treasure lies. Stories that give us insight into our roots, the why of how we do things, say things, perceive life. Any object to go with that is window dressing that sometimes masks the real value – the story.
What does your family “treasure trunk” look like? Please share in the comment section.
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