An Example of What You Can Do With the Personal Property Tax Lists

I shared last week’s post, Personal Property Tax Lists for Rockbridge County, Virginia, to several genealogy groups on Facebook for counties in Virginia and West Virginia. I added a comment to each with the link to the appropriate county’s PPT list. It was a tedious procedure as I searched for the county in the catalog, opened up the category for taxation, clicked the PPT collection to check if it was restricted or not, and finally copied the link to the catalog entry as a comment to my post in each group. I found at least one county had a camera with a key, normally meaning it is restricted, but I was able to access the images.

While preparing to write this post, I found a way to generate a complete list of all of the Personal Property Tax List collections for Virginia counties (including West Virginia counties once part of Virginia). Go to the FamilySearch Catalog and search for the author of the PPT collections: Virginia. Commissioner of the Revenue.

Or click on the door below to go directly to the list of Virginia and West Virginia counties with PPT lists in the Family Search catalog! FamilySearch is free but you need to create an account if you are a first-time user to be able to view the records. If you have already created an account, be sure to log in to view collections.

Use the PPT to fill in the pre-1850 census years

The personal property lists now available on FamilySearch cover the period 1782-1851 on average. Some counties have a larger range and some a smaller range. Although there are variations from county to county, for the most part, they cover a period in which the census includes only the head of household’s name and tick marks for the other persons in the household.

Comparative analysis of early personal property tax records from year to year is useful in drawing conclusions about the residence, property, and status of our ancestors.

I’ve been wanting to work with the PPT lists for two decades. I have ancestors who disappeared after a census and didn’t leave a death record or any of the other records that would help determine an approximate date of death.

Dennis CLONCH of Kanawha formerly of Mecklenburg

Dennis CLONCH lived in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia when the 1810 census was enumerated.1 He moved there from Mecklenburg County about 1806 after marrying Nancy BEASLEY in Mecklenburg in 1803. By 1820 his wife Nancy was the head of household in Mason County, (West) Virginia. Dennis died without a will or probate records. His death, up until now, has been estimated between 1811-1820. No known children were born to Dennis and Nancy after about 1811 when their daughter Sarah was born. This is a large gap in his and his family’s lives.

Using the Personal Property Tax List to Calculate a Year of Death

The PPT lists for Kanawha and Mason counties were checked and helped make a better calculation of when Dennis CLONCH died.

From 1806 to 1809, except for 1808 when no tax list was prepared for Virginia, Dennis was in Kanawha with one male older than 16, 0 blacks 12 & not 16, 0 blacks over 16, and 0 horses & cattle.2, 3, 4

By 1810 Dennis had acquired a horse or a head of cattle.5 From 1811 until 1814, he was the over 16 years old male listed on the tax list with one horse or cattle and no enslaved persons.6, 7, 8, 9

In 1815 the column for horses & cattle was split into two categories on the tax list. Dennis, still the only male, had no blacks, one horse, and seven heads of cattle.10 His surname was spelled CLAUNCH in 1815, the spelling used by his father and siblings when they lived in Mecklenburg County.

In 1816 horses & cattle were once again counted in one column. Dennis, the only male over 16, had no blacks and two horses &/or heads of cattle.11 In 1817 the number of horses &/or cattle went up to three.12

In 1818 and 1819 Dennis CLONCH did not appear on the Kanawha personal property tax list nor did he appear in the same tax list for Mason County where his wife Nancy was enumerated on the 1820 census.13 Since he is missing on the 1818 and the 1819 tax lists and his wife was on the 1820 census, this could mean that Dennis died about 1817-1818 or at least during the time period between 1817 and 1820. I can now list his death as between 1817-1820 instead of between 1811-1820. More precisely between 17 March 1817-7 August 1820 as the 1817 visit was on March 17 and the 1820 census was officially enumerated on the first Monday in August.

How affluent were your ancestors?

What else was learned by analyzing the personal property tax lists? Most of the early years did not include much information but in 1815 the Kanawha County PPT list included many categories helpful in establishing the wealth of an ancestor.

1815 Personal Property Tax List column headings.

In 1815 Dennis CLONCH didn’t own any of the following:

  • Any kind of carriage (two-wheeled, stage wagon, public stage, phaeton, or other four-wheeled riding wagons)
  • A mill, tool barge, ferry, or tanyard
  • A silver or gold watch
  • A stable to accommodate even one horse
  • A house exceeding in value of $500
  • An icehouse
  • A clock with wooden or metal works, with or without a case
  • A coal pit
  • A printer or have revenue from an annual subscription to the paper
  • Bureau, secretary or bookcase, chest of drawers, wardrobe or clothespress, dining table, bedstead, sideboard without drawers or doors, tea table, card table in whole or in part of mahogany, sideboard with drawers or doors, settee or sofa, chairs, carpets, window curtains or Venetian blinds within the window of any house
  • Portraits, picture, print or engraving, mirror or looking glass, pianoforte, harpsichord, organ, or harp
  • Bureau, secretary or bookcase, chest of drawers, wardrobe or clothespress of any other wood other than mahogany
  • Urn, coffee or teapot, candlestick, lamp, chandelier, decanter, pitcher, bowl, goblet, washbasin stand or salver, tankard, cup, or waiter

The only thing my ancestor Dennis owned in 1815 was seven head of cattle.

My 4th great-grandfather Dennis CLONCH came to Kanawha County after several of his brothers went to Kentucky. He probably expected to make a good living. In the end, he died before he was forty leaving a widow with five children, three between 10 and 15 and two just under 10 years of age.

The personal property tax list didn’t include much information but enough to learn when my ancestor died and how difficult life must have been in the early 1800s in almost Heaven, West Virginia.

© 2021, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. 1810 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Third Census of the United States, 1810 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M252, 71 rolls, Roll: 69, Family History Library Film: 0181429, Virginia, Kanawha, image 411, page 135, line 10, Denis Clounch household. The official enumeration day of the 1810 census was the 1st Monday in August (6th). (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 9 December 2014). 
  2. “WV Kanawha Personal property tax lists, 1792-1850”, FamilySearch.org, Virginia Commissioner of the Revenue (Kanawha County) (citing microfilm of original records at the Virginia State Library in Richmond, Virginia), Personal property tax lists, 1792-1832, Film 2024596, DGS 7849142, image 71 of 773, right page, 1806 Dennis Clonch. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSQK-5992-L?i=70&cat=776502 : accessed 16 March 2021). 
  3. Ibid., image 103 of 773, 1807 Dennis Clonch. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSQK-599N-2?i=102&cat=776502 : accessed 16 March 2021). 
  4. Ibid., image 123 of 773, 1809 Dennis Clonch. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSQK-599V-8?i=122&cat=776502 : accessed 16 March 2021). 
  5. Ibid., image 140 of 773, 1810 Dennis Clonch. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSQK-5996-6?i=139&cat=776502 : accessed 16 March 2021). 
  6. Ibid., image 159 of 773, 1811 Dennis Clonch. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSQK-5998-S?i=158&cat=776502 : accessed 16 March 2021). 
  7. Ibid., image 176 of 773, 1812 Dennis Clonch. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSQK-599Q-C?i=175&cat=776502 : accessed 16 March 2021). 
  8. Ibid., image 191 of 773, 1813 Dennis Clonch. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSQK-599C-Z?i=190&cat=776502 : accessed 16 March 2021). 
  9. Ibid., image 224 of 773, 1814 Dennis Clonch. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSQK-599H-B?i=223&cat=776502 : accessed 16 March 2021). 
  10. Ibid., image 239 of 773, 1815 Dennis Claunch. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSQK-59M1-H?i=238&cat=776502 : accessed 16 March 2021). 
  11. Ibid., image 278 of 773, 1816 Dennis Clonch. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSQK-59MR-3?i=277&cat=776502 : accessed 16 March 2021). 
  12. Ibid., image 310 of 773, 1817 Dennis Clonch. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSQK-59MG-1?i=309&cat=776502 : accessed 16 March 2021). 
  13. 1820 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fourth Census of the United States, 1820 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls, NARA Roll: M33_138, Image: 135, Virginia, Mason, page 121, first line, Nancy Claunch household. The official enumeration day of the 1820 census was the 1st Monday in August. (https://www.ancestry.com/ : accessed 13 December 2014). 

Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Great-grandfather Roop’s Poetry

I’m presently concentrating my research on the RUPP, RUPE, ROOP, ROUP, ROOPE, ROUPE, RUPPE families and shared my great-grandpa ROOP’s artwork last week.

Walter Farmer ROOP was a blacksmith, coal miner, artist, poet, photographer, and cartoonist. He left us precious memories one of them being this photograph I shared last week.

MRIN00030 IMG_8590“Gauley River” by Walter F. ROOP 1921

Great-grandpa ROOP also left poems he wrote for his wife, about his place of work, and his surroundings. Living in Jodie, Fayette County, West Virginia, on the Gauley River Walter was fond of the waterway he photographed and wrote this poem about it 99 years ago.

1917_on_gauley_by_Walter_F_RoopWalter wrote poetry to mourn the death of his wife:

  • “The Letters You Loved and Kept”
  • “That Darling Pal of Mine”
  • “Admiration”
  • “My Garden: Gethsemane”
  • an unnamed poem which begins with “Dear heart, since you have gone to rest I only think of you”.

Recently my 2nd cousin Robert sent me “On Gauley,” shared above, and another poem written by our great-grandfather. “Buck Run” was penned after the two great wars were fought and is about Buck Run No. 1, the coal mine he worked in for the Gauley Mountain Coal Company. “Buck Run” may have been published in the UMW Journal as the copy Robert sent has a published look of a book page.

We know at least one of Walter’s poems “When We Retire” was published in the United Mine Workers Journal, January 15, 1952 issue. David C. Duke author of Writers and Miners: Activism and Imagery in America (published by University Press of Kentucky, 2002) referred to it in the notes on a chapter in the book. I have not found any cousins with a copy of this poem.

I’ve been asked if Walter’s talents were passed on to others in the family. I know his youngest son Alfred Lee ROOP 1919-1981 wrote the poem “Old Fighters Last Battle” which Robert sent to me. I would love to know if any of my other cousins inherited one of his special “heirloom” talents.

Click here to see a list of other bloggers doing the heirloom posts.

© 2016 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Great-grandfather Roop’s Art

Since I am presently concentrating on the RUPP, RUPE, ROOP, ROUP, ROOPE, ROUPE, RUPPE families I thought I would share heirlooms which are still in the family only not in my possession.

My great-grandfather Walter F. ROOP was a blacksmith, coal miner, artist, poet, photographer, and cartoonist. He left us precious memories including this photo of the Gauley River. Walter took three photos at Jodie in Fayette County, West Virginia, in 1921, tinted them by hand, and put them together to make this panorama view.

MRIN00030 IMG_8590

“Homemade” panorama titled “Gauley River” by Walter F. ROOP

The year 1921 was a very productive year for my great-grandfather. Not only did he make the panorama photo of Gauley Bridge, he also made ink drawings which were passed on to his children and are now in the possession of two grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

MRIN00030 IMG_8572

“Panther and Deer” by W. F. Roop dated December 26, 1921

MRIN00030 grizzley

“The Grizzly” by W. F. Roop

His granddaughter Peggy Jean Ramsey Baker recounted how the Panther and Deer and The Grizzly drawings were copied from pictures in a big book (maybe some sort of history book). She saw the pictures which were approximately 2×2.5 inches in size in the book as a child. She believes there was a third drawing of “some sort of cat in tall grass.”

When I wrote my post on Walter in 2014 my cousin Linda Roop let me know she has the third drawing and shared a photo of it. It’s in the original frame made by Walter F. ROOP but she was not able to get a good photo due to the size and it being behind glass.

MRIN00030 1921 Leopard drawing by W F Roop
“The Leopard” by W. F. Roop

Isn’t it wonderful how the three drawings are now united even though they are at home with Walter’s descendants through his children Edith Estelle, Myrtle Hazel, Walter Gordon and Alfred Lee?

Click here to see a list of other bloggers doing the heirloom posts.

© 2016 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Baby Grand Piano Music Box

This beautiful black stained glass baby grand piano music box is one of my newer heirlooms. It was sent to me by my third cousin twice removed James S. INGRAM for Christmas 2004.

musicbox1smThe music box plays the “Edelweiss” melody, the last song Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote together.

musicbox3smBefore Jim gifted me this music box he had been sending me wooden carvings he made: Christmas 2001 a crane, Christmas 2002 a quarter moon Santa and a “hillbilly” boot, Christmas 2003 a Santa pencil and a cardinal. As you can see he is a very talented cousin.

ingramcollageJim and I worked on our INGRAM line for several years after we found each other around 2000-2001 on a message board. I felt he sent me more information than I shared with him but he was determined I should have everything so that I could one day open the door to our INGRAM brick wall.

musicbox2sm© 2016 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has A Story suggested doing posts on heirlooms in a discussion in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook group and wrote Now Where Did I Put That? Several bloggers have taken her up on the challenge to write about their heirlooms and we hope more will follow our lead.

Other bloggers doing Family Heirloom stories:

Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks theme for 2015 Week 24 was Heirlooms. Visit her 52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 24 Recap for the links to more posts in the comments.

Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Great-grandma Laura’s Vintage Pedestal Candy Bowl

If you already have American made cut glass that belonged to a grandmother or another family member, cherish it as you would any prized possession, for no more like it will ever be made. ~ John C. Roesel, June 1983

I took a lightning speed crash course in glass making in America so I would sound at least a little bit knowledgeable about the cut glass pedestal candy dish which once belonged to my great-grandmother Laura Bell INGRAM, wife of William Henderson DEMPSEY.

In 1997 we visited Jamestown, Virginia, and learned the first industry to be established in America in 1608 at the settlement was glass making. This was about all I knew before I sat down to write this post.

The first cut glass was produced in America about 1771, over 160 years later in Manheim, Pennsylvania, at the American Flint Glass Manufactory founded by William Stiegel, an immigrant from Cologne, Germany.

glassdish1tinyAlthough this dish once belonged to my great-grandmother Laura, it did not come to me through my grandparents and parents.

In 2011 my 2nd cousin Robert sent me a photo and wrote, “My mom just came in and asked if you would be interested in a glass nic-nac that belonged to your great-grandmother (Fred Rothwell Dempsey’s mother). My mom says that she got it from my grandmother (Edith Roop Ramsey).

I was happy to receive the “nic-nac” Robert sent by mail across America and the Atlantic,  carefully packed and double boxed.

glassdish2tinyLaura died in October 1940 so I can date this cut glass pedestal candy or compote bowl to pre-1940. It stands 4 inches tall, 5 inches across the top, and weighs a pound, two ounces. The saw-tooth edge is scalloped and four pinwheel star patterns around the bowl and on the bottom of the pedestal.

glassdish3tinyWhen I took a closer look I noticed some scratches along the edge and in the inside of the bowl. I also found a seam, actually four, which tells me this is glass and not crystal.

In these days of additive manufacturing or 3D printing Mr. Roesel may be right about this being an heirloom to treasure as no more like it will ever be made (in the same way) but I cherish it for the way it came to me and because it once was lovingly cared for by my great-grandmother Laura.

© 2016 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has A Story suggested doing posts on heirlooms in a discussion in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook group and wrote Now Where Did I Put That? Several bloggers have taken her up on the challenge to write about their heirlooms and we hope more will follow our lead.

Other bloggers doing Family Heirloom stories:

Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks theme for 2015 Week 24 was Heirlooms. Visit her 52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 24 Recap for the links to more posts in the comments.

Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Grandma Dempsey’s Quilts

I don’t know how many quilts my paternal grandmother, Myrtle Hazel ROOP, made during her lifetime. I don’t remember ever seeing her work on cutting pieces and patching them together.quilt3Around 1972 Grandma gave my sister and I each a twin size quilt with the sunbonnet motif. A closer look at the quilt shows she machine zig-zagged the motif onto the white background. She folded a tiny white square into a triangle for the girl’s hand. After sewing all the pieces together with the blue borders she added the scalloped pink and blue border. She hand-quilted around the edges of all the pieces of the motif and the scalloped border before quilting diagonal stitches across the entire quilt leaving off at the motif and outside border. She used material of blue and green tulips on a white background for the back. The backing material was already quilted to batting but it is still easy to see where the machine quilting was done and where Grandma’s tiny handmade stitches were made.

quilt4I’ve taken great care with this quilt which is nearly 45 years old and still looks like new.

Next door to my grandparents house in Victor Fayette County, West Virginia, was the school house where my Dad and his siblings went to school. The Victor School closed in 1955 and was then used by the ladies in the community as a meeting place for them to do their handiwork. Grandma told me she made her braided rugs and the ladies would do their quilting together in the school house.

Grandma always did her quilting by hand and after they stopped using the school house,and when I lived with her the year I went to college, she had her quilting frame set up on the enclosed front porch of the family home.

quilt1When I left after living with her for nearly a year I gave her a Log Cabin Block quilt kit with pre-cut pieces that I ordered for her through a magazine. When I got married the next year she sent me the finished queen size quilt as a wedding present. It will be 38 years old this March and is a bit more worn than the first quilt but still in prime condition.quilt2 I have another quilt hidden away in the attic that Grandma gave to me when I visited her with my Mom in 1982. I need to make some time to go up in the attic and do some cleaning up and sorting. I might even find some more forgotten heirlooms.

© 2016 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has A Story suggested doing posts on heirlooms in a discussion in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook group and wrote Now Where Did I Put That? Several bloggers have taken her up on the challenge to write about their heirlooms and we hope more will follow our lead.

Other bloggers doing Family Heirloom stories:

Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks theme for 2015 Week 24 was Heirlooms. Visit her 52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 24 Recap for the links to more posts in the comments.

Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Dad’s Ceramics

Baby5tiny My Dad had several hobbies over the years. One of them was ceramics. I have two pieces he made, a planter which resembles a log and this little baby sucking her thumb and twirling her hair.

Baby3tinyI wasn’t able to shake the habit of sucking my thumb until I was seven years old and was often reminded of this.

Baby6tinyOn the underside he carved his initials FD for Fred Dempsey.

Baby4tinyThe baby at one time had an accident, breaking into two pieces and had to be glued together.

Baby1tinymadonna2Other pieces he made were a Madonna bust, a praying Madonna bust, a full Madonna statue with a crown (left), praying hands, and a rearing black stallion.

I cannot remember any being painted in color and most were white. Exceptions were the black stallion and the log shaped planter which is a dark grey, a mixture of white and black brushed on to make it look like wooden grain.Baby2tinyI thought it would be fun to do this one today since Dad thought of me when he chose to make this piece and Tuesday’s Child, the baby she represents, will be turning 58 in two days.

 © 2016 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has A Story suggested doing posts on heirlooms in a discussion in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook group and wrote Now Where Did I Put That? Several bloggers have taken her up on the challenge to write about their heirlooms and we hope more will follow our lead.

Other bloggers doing Family Heirloom stories:

Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks theme for 2015 Week 24 was Heirlooms. Visit her 52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 24 Recap for the links to more posts in the comments.

Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Laura’s Relish Dish (2)

Earlier in December I shared my great-grandmother Laura Belle DEMPSEY née INGRAM’s glass relish dish shaped like a leaf and a bunch of grapes.

grapedish2Several readers said they would like to see a photo of it with my homemade Santa Fe Cranberry Sauce.

cranberry1tinySince we are taking it easy after all the feasting I thought this would be a great filler, pun intended, until next week.

cranberry2tinyWishing everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year.

 © 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has A Story suggested doing posts on heirlooms in a discussion in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook group and wrote Now Where Did I Put That? Several bloggers have taken her up on the challenge to write about their heirlooms and we hope more will follow our lead.

Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Mom’s Signature Tablecloth

When I added this heirloom to my list I wasn’t sure it still existed. During my childhood my Dad was in the Air Force and we had to move more than a half a dozen times. Things were lost along the way.

While talking to her on the phone I asked my Mom if she had “the tablecloth.” Less than a half hour later she called me back to say she’d found it. She was disappointed to find a few spots that looked like coffee stains on it. Before she dropped it off she washed and ironed it. Not all the spots came out but were a lot lighter than before she washed it.

If we get a bit of sun before I return it to her I’ll try sprinkling salt and squeezing lemon juice on the stains and placing the tablecloth on the grass and letting the sun “bleach out” the stains. Even if the trick doesn’t work, the tablecloth is a beautiful and unique treasure.

Before my mother married my father she worked for an American family in Luxembourg and even went with them to England when they were transferred. While living with them she saw a similar tablecloth owned by the family with signatures of the guests who visited their home.

1957tableclothtinyWhen my parents married in 1957 Mom laid out a white tablecloth for their wedding guests to sign with the date and where they were from. The bride’s mother Marcelle; grandfather Joseph; paternal aunt Marie; paternal uncle Jean Pierre; maternal aunt Lucie; cousin Yvonne, her husband François and his mother;  Yvonne’s two children; and the bride and groom’s witnesses signed the tablecloth on their wedding day. The guests came from Echternach and Schifflange in Luxembourg, from Strasbourg and Ittersviller in France, and from Bitburg in Germany.

These are the signatures of the twelve guests. After the wedding Mom embroidered all the signatures.

1957collagetinyFive months later Dad was transferred back to the States and Mom got to meet Dad’s family in West Virginia for the first time.

Out came the tablecloth for everyone to sign. Dad’s mother Myrtle and father Fred; two of his three sisters; his brothers; a sister-in-law; three nieces; a paternal uncle, his wife, their son and daughter-in-law; and cousin Eugene.1957-08-04 CollagetinyIt is interesting to see the date format used by the European signers (D-M-Y) and the America signers (M-D-Y). A few more signatures of very close friends were added through the years.

In 1962 Dad got orders for France. We visited the family in West Virginia before crossing the ocean. There was a new family member, my oldest cousin’s husband, and out came the tablecloth for his signature. My cousin had signed it in 1957 and added her new “alias” under her first signature.

And little Cathy, nearly 5 years old, took advantage of day and signed her name.

cathytiny © 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has A Story suggested doing posts on heirlooms in a discussion in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook group and wrote Now Where Did I Put That? Several bloggers have taken her up on the challenge to write about their heirlooms and we hope more will follow our lead.

Other bloggers doing Family Heirloom stories:

Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks theme for 2015 Week 24 was Heirlooms. Visit her 52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 24 Recap for the links to more posts in the comments.

Tuesday’s Child’s Family Heirlooms: Handkerchiefs with Crocheted Edges

As my regular readers know by now, Bomi, my maternal grandmother was a seamstress. When she learned the trade there was more to being a seamstress than making clothes.

Nearly all household items made of material could be made or enhanced by a frugal seamstress. When linen sheets became worn out they would be patched them with pieces of old sheets. Bomi learned to embroider, crochet and make lacy edges for handkerchiefs, collars, dishtowels, pillowcases, and sheets.

hankiesCotton sheets would be cut up to the size of a lady’s handkerchief and the edges crocheted. They lasted for years and years.

When we cleaned out her house Bomi’s Nuesnappecher or Sakdicher (handkerchiefs) were the first things to go home with me. Although they may look delicate they aren’t hand-wash but they are line dried and ironed. When “the pile” gets too high the first things I iron are Bomi’s handkerchiefs. And even though I’m not fond of ironing, I love the smell of freshly ironed.

Hopefully all paperless genealogists will agree with me. In today’s world we waste so much. My using Bomi’s hankies saves paper and my nerves – because don’t you just hate having to pick all those little tissue pieces off clothes coming out of the washer when someone forgets to empty their pockets!

 © 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Jeanne Bryan Insalaco of Everyone Has A Story suggested doing posts on heirlooms in a discussion in the Genealogy Bloggers Facebook group and wrote Now Where Did I Put That? Several bloggers have taken her up on the challenge to write about their heirlooms and we hope more will follow our lead.

Other bloggers doing Family Heirloom stories:

Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks theme for 2015 Week 24 was Heirlooms. Visit her 52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 24 Recap for the links to more posts in the comments.