Monday, October 28, 2013

The Book of Me - Being a Good Ancestor for a Future Descendant

Time capsules do not capture my interest.  Then I thought about finding a time capsule created by one of my ancestors.  Now that would be exciting and I would be very grateful.  My approach to this topic, then, is from the perspective of finding a time capsule instead of creating one.  It's been very thought-provoking.  Below are several lists which may change over a period of time -- if I continue to think about them.

Elizabeth Armitage Meinzen's time capsule:
- photographs of herself and her family through the years
- a piece of needlework, a thimble, a workbasket
- an item of clothing
- a description of one of her ordinary days
- several recipes or menus (written by someone else because she was illiterate)
- a retelling of her life in England, before she came to America
- a price list for items she regularly purchased at stores

Tressa Froman Doyle's time capsule:
- descriptions of the quilts she's made and how she learned to quilt
- a dozen small pieces of fabric
- a sample of some needlework
- a brief biography and story of your childhood and youth
- a photograph of her kitchen
- a kitchen utensil
- a letter telling 10 of the most important things she learned in life
- her signature

Elvira Bartley Gerner's time capsule:
- a hymn book she used
- a dress
- a letter describing the personalities & attributes of her husband and her children
- photographs of her home including kitchen, living room
- her signature
- a list of the things in life she's most grateful for

Gust Doyle's time capsule:
- names of his cows, horses, and other animals on the farm
- a calendar, planting schedule, seed packets or description of seed purchases
- his signature
- the story of how he met his first wife, Beulah Gerner
- a tool
- a newspaper of the time

Henry Meinzen's time capsule:
- a ledger from his confectionery shop
- a box or wrapper from some of the candy, cigars, and other things he sold
- a price list from items in his shop
- one of his tools (he had been a carpenter)
- a newspaper, specifically the one in which he appeared for the large radish he grew
- a calendar for any year
- a letter describing his physical self, his thoughts on life
- wisdom from his life experiences for his descendants
- a description of his experience emigrating from Germany to the U.S.A.

Thinking about how kind it would have been for an ancestor to leave a time capsule and how much I would have appreciated it makes me realize that it would probably be kind for me to leave one for future descendants.  (Whether or not I actually make one is a different story.) 

Items for my time capsule might include:
- a journal
- a calendar book in which I've recorded my to-do lists, appts., and activities/events
- a sale flyer from the store where I usually buy groceries
- a grocery shopping list
- photos of my husband and me and our daughters through the years
- several favorite recipes
- prints and a flash drive with photographs of family, ancestors, and descendants
- a spool of thread, a small hand-made item, a sewing tool or two

This is another post in The Book of Me series, created by Julie Goucher of Anglers Rest.



  1. Tsk Tsk -- Don't begrudge those ancestors if you're not putting together your own time capsule. But I do like the wish list for any of those ancestors who might be able to send you a sign somehow.

    1. Oh, I know, Wendy. I'm thinking about it.... I can only begin to imagine how difficult life must have been for many of my ancestors, both financially and physically. I don't think any of them had much leisure time and would probably never have thought to make a time capsule. I continue to hope that my ancestors will send me some signs, some contacts, some photos through descendants I haven't met....

  2. What an intriguing post, Nancy. I see a common thread in many of your ancestor time capsules--a letter, a signature, a photograph, a small item representative of the person's life. How I would love to have these for my ancestors, too! I'm sure your descendants would be thrilled to find a time capsule filled with things about your life. If you do create one, I think the legacy of your blog and the stories you've shared should be a part of it, because you write with so much understanding and meaning.

    1. Hi, Shelley. As I was thinking about what I wish ancestors would have included, I kept in mind their financial situations. Some would not have had the means or ability to give things that others might not have missed. Thank you for your kind words about my blog posts. My brother keeps suggesting I create a book. Perhaps one of these years I'll surprise him (and make a copy for a time capsule, too!). Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.


I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

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