From the NGS American Genealogical Studies course, home sources are a great place to start your research. In fact, a home source of mine is what got the ball rolling, so to speak, for my love of family history. My maternal grandfather had written out a family tree of sorts for his paternal side. I found it and it sparked my curiosity. Since then, I’ve found other important and interesting documents and pictures. Here is what is listed in the course and whether or not I’ve had success in my own home:
Diaries, Letters, Postcards: No, yes, and yes (a boxful of postcards on my Ford side).
Deeds and Wills: Not found in home documents but filed at the courthouse.
Religious records: Not found in home documents but through the church where they are held.
Organizational papers: I know ancestors were members of organizations yet I have found no documentation at home.
Military records: No actual records, but my paternal grandfather was a POW during WWII in Germany and brought home “spoils of war” (a silverware set and bayonet) that my Dad sold. He does have medals.
Photographs: A good number of them, I’d say. I’d give anything for a photo of Paul Mayer or any of the Lichtenfels.
Newspaper clippings: As you can tell from past posts, I have a number of newspaper articles. Clippings, however, I have a few of those. My paternal grandmother saved the paper from JFK’s assassination and an article about my grandfather’s POW status.
Naturalization papers: None in my possession unfortunately.
Books: The course mentions baby books or wedding books, yearbooks, address books, autographs books, etc. I have 2 books that were given to my 3rd-great-grandmother in 1828, probably my 2 most prized possessions in my family history. See pictures at end of post.
Family Bible: My paternal grandfather wrote down some family history information from a book he said was written in the hand of his grandfather. Unfortunately, I have not found that book. My grandfather was thorough, recording what he copied as being from the “scripture memoranda pages of the book: ‘Bible Readings for the Home Circle’.” I have my paternal grandparents’ Bible where my grandmother recorded where she and my grandfather were married and by whom. Other than that, I have no other knowledge of family Bibles in my family.
Current family records: NGS is referring to pedigree charts and family group sheets. I have been working on those diligently the past year or so, including noting sources, making hard copies of those sources and also digitizing them.
Pictures in author’s possession.
This is how I discovered my 3rd-great-grandmother’s middle name!