Heirlooms Missing?

There are a couple heirloom exchange and locating of orphaned family artifacts. The exchange done by JustaJoy (JustaJoy Historical Treasures) which tries to match family historians with long lost family heirlooms. As is most often the case, with the thousands of antique dealers across the country, they could be holding some family treasure. Problem is you live in Kentucky and they live in Oregon and you two may never discover each other.

Enter JustaJoy which is a subscription-fee based service to help bring the a lost heirloom back to its rightful family. How it works that for a annual fee of $20, the family historian can place 20 family surnames on a listing. Anytime there is a surname match, the subscriber is notified and emails can be exchanged between the antique dealer and the family researcher about the possible artifact and any purchase price agreed between the two parties. There could even be just a minimal fee to send the artifact back to the family.

The JustaJoy site has over 10,000 artifacts, ranging from family Bibles (where there would many surnames written), photographs from across the decades, needlepoint work (many of which are signed), postcards, military records, newspaper articles, books, letters, yearbooks, business cards, awards, etc. It is estimated there are some 40,000 surnames linked to the lost heirlooms.

The site does offer a general search of surnames, listed at the left side. Here put in a family name and see some examples of what might be available. There is also a general search for anything connected to a certain military regiment, a hometown, a business, or civic organization. You will see a thumbnail image and a brief description. If you get the annual subscription then more details including who is holding the artifact will be provided. There are many Civil War images of soldiers, so that is one area you would want to check names for sure.

Another similar site is one done by Megan Smolenyak with her ‘Orphan Heirlooms‘. Here if you have some other family’s artifacts; a family Bible, military records, photo album, etc. and would like it returned to the rightful family, Megan, as a long time¬†genealogist, will do the research to help connect the two together. You fill out the online form to describe what artifact you have. She doesn’t guarantee success in every case locating the descendants of each item, but she does try.

So there has been success in both these sites in bring family treasures back to the families. Anything you need to find or have already found that needs to go back to its place of origin?

Photo: JustaJoy photo of Anson B. West of the 33 Illinois Inf. – Civil War.

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